August in Scotland is all but synonymous with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which is once again packed with a full schedule of superb musical acts from Pictish Trail to Mr Scruff and everything in between. However, Glasgow isn’t about to let her old rival steal all the headlines; as usual, the west coast has managed to tempt more than its fair share of music heavyweights for a late summer gig. Here are a handful of the highlights from Scotland’s biggest city this coming August.

Optimo 20

Stalwarts of the underground music scene in Glasgow Optimo (Espacio) celebrate their twentieth birthday with a glorious celebration of all things independent and interesting. With their club nights already the stuff of legends, this one-off event with the most eclectic of lineups promises to be something really special. DJs, live bands and other artists will come together for the mother of all knees-ups at the beginning of the month – miss out at your own peril.

@ Galvanizer’s Yard, Glasgow, 6th August


Boston alt rockers Pixies head up an impressive list of acts at this year’s Summer Nights at the Bandstand programme, which also includes the likes of naughtily-named Scottish stalwarts Arab Strap, Welsh sexbomb Tom Jones and homeless man turned guitar hero, Seasick Steve. With more than 30 years in the industry under their belts, the psychedelic surf rock specialists are all set to provide Kelvingrove with perhaps the fieriest acts to its musical bonfire.

@ Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow, 7th & 8th August 

Flaming Lips

The 21st century’s answer to Pink Floyd, Flaming Lips pride themselves on their wacky experimental style, garishly impressive live performances and, of course, a track-by-track cover of one of Floyd’s seminal albums. The middle of this month sees Wayne Coyne bring the glam and the glitter to the Barrowland Ballroom, a venue sure to provide a unique backdrop to their show-stopping, stop-pull-outing, kitchen-sink-throwing onstage antics.

@ Barrowland, Glasgow, 15th August

Band of Skulls

Okay, okay, so Paisley isn’t Glasgow – but the fact that Scotland’s biggest town can attract names to rival its capital city just shows the incredible pulling power of the west coast. Snagging the sizable guitar hooks and bluesy grunge made popular by bands like The White Stripes and The Black Keys, Band of Skulls ground all that garage grit inside a uniquely southern British charm. Emma Richardson and Russell Marsden marry their twin set of vocal and guitar talents together to create epic bluesy fusions of indie rock and roll.

@ The Bungalow Bar, Paisley, 28th August

The xx

It’s hard to believe it’s almost a decade since the xx released their debut album in their teens. Fast forward to the present day and the London three-piece have a trio of albums and a stackload of awards piled up on their shelves. This month, they’ll form an irresistible tag team with Perfume Genius to give SWG3 the summeriest of slams. One of their two dates is already sold out – make sure you’re not disappointed by snapping up the other on the link below.

@ The Galvanizer’s Yard (SWG3), Glasgow, 29th & 30th August

Mac DeMarco

And… Edinburgh might have a festival going on, but we still wouldn’t want the old girl to feel neglected in this preview. MacDeMarco’s brand of summery jangling pop is so laid-back it’s virtually prostrate, even more so on his latest effort. As such, his Usher Hall concert at the tail end of the month might provide some welcome respite from the hectic activity and seemingly never-ending stream of tourists clogging up the pavements throughout the festival.

@ Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 30th August