Meet the “uncomfortably raw punk band” about to play this year’s Tenement Trail

“We’re so so lucky just to be in Glasgow because there’s so many venues. For the size of the city there’s one round every corner.”
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While walking through the Gallowgate to the location of my next interview, just on the corner of Kent Street underneath the “World Famous McIver’s Market” sign which hangs on the green and red tin frame of the Barras, I ran into my friend Kejo - veteran music photographer. With his palm stretched flat and slicing through the air, he looked me in the eyes and said “Kaitlin, you should have been at this gig the other night it was absolutely phenomenal”. He was referring to the Glasgow stop of Dead Pony’s current UK headline tour which had taken place at Saint Luke’s, though he was particularly enthusiastic about the second support band, Soapbox. He said they were “punky”, that he’d never seen anything quite like it, they had the whole crowd jumping and shouting. It was an utter coincidence that it was Soapbox I was about to meet to discuss their upcoming slot at Scotland’s festival of music discovery, Tenement Trail.

The band have been together for just over one year, having met online. A “four-piece, almost uncomfortably raw punk band” as they describe themselves, made up of Tom (vocals), Jenna (drums), Angus (guitar) and Aidan (bass).

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“It’s really all energy,” said Tom. “It’s energy and rhetoric. We’re not making beautiful melodies or anything, it’s all harsh words, it’s all harsh sounds as well but, if you agree with the message and you like to move around then most folk are going to have a good time at a gig.”

“A lot of the writing comes from the frustrations of growing up and living life in severely difficult times. Not just for musicians or artists but young people as a whole in this country. We’re all a bit screwed and I think a lot of people feel the same so someone shouts about it on a stage they react to that, they get involved and they get engaged. I think it’s a lot of frustrations of life. There’s political messages, there’s social messages, there’s all that.

Soapbox will be one of 50 acts playing across a range of East End venues on 7 October, which includes the Barrowlands, Saint Luke’s, BAaD, McChuill’s and Van Winkle, with a headline performance by the Northern English rock band Circa Waves.

“We done a lot of our early gigs in McChuill’s and figured out a lot of what this band would end up being. It’ll always be a special place. Favourite venue we’ve ever played is probably Saint Luke’s.”

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“We played the last gig in the Prioriy, that was magic,” said Aidan.

“Yeah, if the Priory was still open it’d definitely be up there,” said Jenna.

“So many early memories of going to gigs for the first time, where you first have that buzz of seeing shows where it’s not a concert you’re going to with your mum and dad, but you’re in a grassroots venue, there’s 100 people there, they’re all really drunk and throwing themselves about and the band are three inches from your face.

“We’re so so lucky just to be in Glasgow because there’s so many venues. For the size of the city there’s one round every corner. It’s so good there’s something for everyone every night of the week. If you do go out and want to listen to live music you can find something that you’ll enjoy, which is such a great thing to grow up around when you’re also an artist. It gives you not only a lot of opportunities to play and do your thing but also you’re exposed to so much and you end up taking that in, I think, and that obviously ends up influencing a lot of what you end up doing.

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