worth going out for in may 2018;

I try to make a point of making these monthly cultural recommendation columns about more than just music, since I have a whole other page for that. But, since music makes up about 80% of the emails I receive, it’s kind of unavoidable – plus, some months, there’s just lots of really, really great stuff going on!

Yes, like in this one. Dive in.

1st-7th May
Songs of the Roma
Full tour dates and tickets

Supported by Creative Scotland, Songs of the Roma is an award-winning re-imagining of one of the world’s great folk song traditions, led by Scottish classical guitarist Simon Thacker. Renowned Polish cellist Justyna Jablonska and Polish Roma singer/violinist Masha Natanson join Thacker for a night of songs in Romani, Romanian, Serbian and Russian, interspersed with wonderfully inventive new instrumental music.

The trio have been touring since 25th April, and I’m very much looking forward to catching them at the Glad Cafe in Glasgow tonight (1st May). They’re still to call at Alford, Skye, New Galloway, Pittenweem and Lyth, before finishing up at Birnam Arts Centre on 7th May.

3rd, 4th and 12th May
Adam Stafford Fire Behind the Curtain album launch shows

Perennial LYG favourite Adam Stafford is one of Scotland’s most intense and enthralling live performers as he recreates the always experimental, often glorious sounds of his avant-garde songwriting. With neoclassical new album Fire Behind the Curtain promising yelping choirs, cosmic beatboxing, sinuous string arrangements, warped guitar and a spoken-word track inspired by Stafford witnessing his first cremation, his three album launch dates promise to be just as compelling.

For the first two shows, at The Dissection Room at Summerhall, Edinburgh (3rd) and The Hug and Pint, Glasgow (4th), Stafford will be joined on stage by Pete Harvey of Modern Studies, who arranged the strings and played cello on the album, producer Robbie Lesiuk and drummer Josh Swinney (PAWS). He’ll then be in Aberdeen on 12th, for a solo show at The Lemon Tree.

Adam Stafford 2018 by David P Scott
The Blueswater full band photo

6th May, Glasgow
The Blueswater
The Hug and Pint, 7:30pm tickets

Another LYG favourite, The Blueswater began wowing Edinburgh Fringe audiences in 2011 with their award-winning show BLUES! musical history of the blues. They’ve since developed a whole suite of blues-themed shows: you may remember me raving about Queens of the Blues, their collaboration with vocalist Nicole Smit celebrating the women who influenced and innovated in blues music, last year.

This month, the core six-piece Blueswater band play Glasgow for the first time, as part of a spring UK tour. Fronted by the charismatic Felipe Schrieberg and influenced by gritty, old-school rhythm and blues, this is a show not to be missed.

11th May, Glasgow
MILK Glasgow Get Over It 90s/00s karaoke party!
O2 ABC, 11pm

Guys, I’ve had an urge deep down in my bones recently. An urge to sing karaoke. And I keep getting Facebook invites to these all-night karaoke parties hosted by Glasgow club stalwarts MILK, which seems a bit like a sign.

Take to the stage and belt out your favourite tunes from the 90s and 00s, to a music video time machine backdrop – think Bieber or Blur, Outkast or Oasis, Missy Elliott or Madonna. Feel free to dig out your old threads too, as there will be a photographer on the night to capture the best retro looks. Because yes, your youth is retro now. Sorree.

MILK Glasgow Get Over It 90s/00s karaoke party flyer

16th May, Glasgow
Bongo’s Bingo
SWG3, 6pm tickets

The UK’s most intriguing-sounding club night returns to Glasgow for more $hit prizes, dance-offs, singalongs and whole lotta not your Granny’s bingo. Part live show, part club night and, of course, a heads-down game of bingo, with the chance to win cash prizes.

These nights usually sell out – the early bird run of tickets has gone already – so get your gaggle together and make a night of it. I’ve got my eye on winning a pink unicorn.

18th May, Kirkcaldy
Tae Sup wi’ a Fifer
Adam Smith Theatre, 8pm tickets

The eclectic live music/spoken word showcase curated by Fife-based singer-songwriter James Yorkston returns for summer 2018, with three shows at its longstanding home the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy. May’s lineup features writer and broadcaster Ian McMillan, folk singer-songwriter and activist Grace Petrie and Withered Hand, the Edinburgh-based alt.folk musician I’ve been singing the praises of here for what must be a decade now.

Tae Sup wi’ a Fifer began in 2015, when the venue first approached Yorkston to curate some live music and spoken word nights, and his lineups never fail to disappoint. Later this summer, you’ll be able to catch a very rare Scottish performance by influential US alt-folk legend Michael Hurley, and an even rarer performance by US electronic pioneer Carl Stone – in surround sound, no less – rubbing shoulders with homegrown talent like Siobhan Wilson and The Pictish Trail.

18th May, Edinburgh
The Feminist Disco II
Voodoo Rooms, 7:30pm tickets

Born from the certain knowledge that the desire to dance to the finest female-fronted indie, rock and disco doesn’t disappear just because you’re in your 30s and need to put the kids to bed, The Feminist Disco is an evening of dancing to some cracking tunes that keeps slightly more sociable hours.

Expect Tina Tuner, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin, Blondie, M.I.A, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Stevie Nicks, Salt n Pepa, The Sugarcubes, Missy Elliot, The Eurythmics, Dolly Parton, Technotronic, Goldfrapp and loads more.

18th May-16th June
The Isle of Love theatre tour
Full tour dates and tickets

The rather wonderful Glasgow-by-way-of-the-Highlands DIY alt-folk band Randolph’s Leap return later this month with brand new album Worryingly Okay. Before we get to that, though, there’s the small matter of The Isle of Love – a “jukebox musical” of sorts, written by award-winning writer/production duo Right Lines and inspired by the songs of the band and the romance of a fictional island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

Randolph’s Leap frontman Adam Ross is joining the full four-week tour to provide a musical backdrop, with the actors joining in and swapping instruments on the various songs. The Glasgow performance is at the CCA on Saturday 9th June (yes, somebody’s birthday) and will be followed by a full-band Randolph’s Leap show.

Adam Ross of Randolph's Leap,
Rhona MacFarlane

26th May, Edinburgh
Flint & Pitch: Beginnings
The Bongo Club, 7pm tickets

Because no Worth Going Out For column would be complete without a Flint & Pitch event. This special event is part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, which will host events across Scotland from 7th-27th May all exploring the same theme.

Compered, as usual, by the wonderful Jenny Lindsay, the lineup features author Catherine Simpson, whose memoir will look at how mental illness, loss and grief are treated as taboo in the context of her sister’s suicide; poets Deanna Rodger and Kevin McLean; and music from Declan Welsh and Rhona MacFarlane.