If music is the food of love, and let’s say we know this for a fact, then the Red Hot Chilli Pipers are a deep-fried Mars Bar – like the infamous Scottish dish, the Chilli Pipers are a novelty that’s hard to stomach.

At times surreal, constantly laughable, tonight’s two-hour show had to be seen to be disbelieved. From the black fashion kilts to the awkward choreography, the bouts of tartan techno to the choice of songs, no element of tonight’s arduous ordeal did anything to further the cause of Scottish music.

In their matching outfits and with their choreographed moves, which consisted primarily of pointing and swaying, the core pipers often looked like they were auditioning for a part in a Scottish version of the Full Monty.

Safe covers like Clocks, Chasing Cars, Everybody Dance Now and a medley of Rocking All Over The World and Eye Of The Tiger didn’t help matters either. Neither did the difficulty of keeping a strangled cat in tune or their pantomime delivery which, when combined with the music, made tonight feel like the wedding from hell.

The song titles in the following review are not real. Their identities have been changed to protect them from ridicule.

For those of us among the sold-out crowd tonight who didn’t fall for the hype, Sleigh Bells’ 30-minute set tonight proved torturous.

Essentially a karaoke night thanks to the over-powering backing tracks, guitarist of sorts Derek Miller and occasionally-audible singer Alexis Krauss did know how to work the crowd, what poses to strike, postures to make but sadly seemed to have forgotten to write any songs.

Instead tracks like Way Too Bassy, That’s 30 Minutes I Won’t Get Back and Take Me Now (End My Pain) blurred into one turgid ball of noise.

Apparently what they create is noise-pop (50 percent accurate), a term as meaningful as what they really are, a nu-nu-rave band – think a slightly more woeful Crystal Castles.

Borrowing from the Prodigy and RATM on their few moments of coherency, combined with the odd strobe burst may have done the trick for fans but for the rest of us, judging by the post-gig discussions, Sleigh Bells are a loathe-them-or-love-them-band.

The writing was on the wall before tonight’s set even started. A largely middle-aged crowd whooped with the kind of excitement you’d expect from the infrequent gig goer as first the backing band and then tonight’s main attraction Rumer took to the stage.

Sure enough songs that wouldn’t be out of place on a ‘The Best Sunday Afternoon Chill Out … Ever’ album followed, as for just over an hour Rumer, real name Sarah Joyce, dispensed the kind of uninspired jazz-infused pop music that you’re forced to endure in elevators.

Samey numbers delivered with minimal passion and soul came and went in routine fashion with the only saving grace being the concise nature of lounge songs like Am I Forgiven, Take Me As I Am and Slow.

Surprises were thin on the ground throughout, although telling the audience as the set neared its conclusion that, “Now I get to play the songs I like” suggested that even Joyce was far from enthused by the what had gone before. Very much a night to forget.

In his 25-year 25-album career, Howe Gelb, the man behind Giant Sand, has married a multitude of influences. Country, rock, jazz, blues, punk and psychedelia are just some of the sounds that have made Giant Sand a continuously shifting proposition.

So as you’d expect tonight’s appearance at the ABC, part of this year’s Celtic Connections festival, saw Gelb and his Danish four-piece backing band play an eclectic set that dazzled as much as it disappointed.

The best tracks were those that took the audience on a journey. Hugely evocative lyrics coupled with darkly hypnotic rhythms made numbers like Shiver and Monk’s Mountain truly spell-binding. The latter in particular, punctuated with ragged bursts of distortion as the song reached its gloriously chaotic climax, was quite mesmerising.

However, with such a varied background Gelb’s ability to hold the crowd’s attention at times failed him, especially during the sedate jazz of Time Flies, but it was the increasingly frequent moments when Chris Rhea and Dire Straits sprang to mind that made tonight your archetypal hit and miss performance.

It’s ten years since Idlewild released 100 Broken Windows. Seen by many as one of the most important albums to come out of Scotland, tonight the five-piece celebrated its tenth anniversary by playing the whole album to a packed Oran Mor.

“The problem is you know what’s coming next” singer Roddy Woomble declared after a blistering one two of Little Discourage and I Don’t Have The Map. As it turned out it there was no problem, as the energy of the music was easily matched by the passion of the band.

Punchier, more frenetic numbers like Idea Track, Rusty and The Bronze Medal not only showed no signs of ageing but more importantly gave guitarists Rod Jones and Allan Stewart the chance to cut loose, to mount monitors and play to the crowd.

A healthy helping of the hits followed with final track A Modern Way Of Letting Go ensuring the perfect start to New Year’s Eve.

Regardless of what happens after their self-imposed hiatus, the fact the majority of tonight’s sold-out crowd were on the right side of 25 suggests there’ll always be an audience for Idlewild, and rightly so.

With their second album in the pipeline, St Deluxe took the chance tonight to test out some new material. However it was far from plain sailing, as poor sound, uninspired vocals and a convoluted approach rendered much of their performance distinctly sub-par.

After a promising start, new track After The Fire soon fell apart. Uneasy, stutter-step drums seemed jarringly out of place while the heavily distorted guitars got tangled in a web of noise that overall sounded messy rather than grungy.

The best riff of the night came courtesy of Slip Away. Blasted out, the catchy hook book-ended the song but unfortunately for the most part it seemed like an extended and slightly different version of previous track New Wave Stars.

Another new song, Perfect 10, and again the Glasgow four-piece seemed all over the shop. At times it sounded as though they were playing different songs.

The sound blighted their efforts throughout, but with singer/guitarist Jamie Cameron’s ineffectual vocals adding to the general dirge, it’s hard to imagine things being much different even if ropey sound hadn’t been an issue.

Braving the elements to see The Drums tonight on paper seemed worth a gamble, after all the Brooklyn quartet have scored rave reviews for their eponymous debut album. There’s also the matter of scoring high on the much-coveted but entirely unreliable ones-to-watch lists for 2010.

In reality, for an hour tonight The Drums did little to distinguish themselves from the current rank of ‘now-sounding’ indie-pop bands. Songs followed a predictable pattern, annoying riffs came and went and singer Jonathan Pierce’s nasal whine grew more and more shrill.

The sold-out crowd by and large ate it up, bouncing along to songs like Best Friend, Let’s Go Surfing and Forever And Ever Amen, but then again large sections also cheered wildly when Pierce took off his jacket.

At least visually it was an entertaining affair, albeit unintentionally at times. Aside from the lights which lent some much-needed atmosphere, watching Jacob Graham twirl and waltz with his guitar like a demented ballerina helped raise a much-needed smile on what was overall a night to forget.

The last time The National played the Academy they supported Editors. In the four years since, the Brooklyn-based five-piece has gone from strength to strength, releasing two more critically-acclaimed albums, the most recent of which was this year’s High Violet.

Not surprisingly anticipation levels were extremely high before the band trooped on stage, but sadly a combination of hollow sound, a new-material-heavy set list and an at times tired delivery meant overall it was a disappointing display.

All The Wine was the worst affected by sound deficiencies, the song reduced to a shadow of its usual glorious self while the bulk of material from High Violet lacked depth.

Conversation 16 was the pick of the new songs but for sheer potency and the sight of singer Matt Berninger working his way through the Academy crowd to deliver his vitriolic barrage from the sound desk, it was Mr November that stole the show.

An eventful encore saw the band debut a new track, a piano-led slow-burner, then round things off with an a capella rendition of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks – a nice idea in theory but one which in practise proved patchy.

Crowds play a huge part when it comes to experiencing live music. Without a passionate, focussed crowd, bands will often just go through the motions while, fuelled by the reaction of pumped-up fans, they tend to rise to the occasion.

Tonight neither the crowd nor the band seemed that up for it, both being strangely lifeless for much of this 23-song set. On the brief moments the five-piece did inject a little energy into proceedings, it didn’t last long.

The instrumental sections on songs like Rebecca And You and Coney Island showed the band’s more interesting rockier psychedelic side and while they may only have played it once before, the introduction of a new untitled song was a definite highlight. Sadly the same couldn’t be said of much of what followed, as with little in the way of presence at times the set plodded along.

That said on the whole it was the total lack of energy and atmosphere, not helped by a poor turn-out, that made tonight a far from dazzling display.

No one was safe from the marauding Tim Harrington tonight, not even the guy playing the fruit machine at the back of the Oran Mor, as Les Savy Fav’s larger-than-life singer took every chance to get amongst the crowd.

Throughout what was an unpredictable set, in terms of delivery at least, Harrington was a loose cannon, screaming in the faces of unsuspecting punters, charging through the crowd. You were never sure where he might pop up or what he might be wearing, at one point he donned a hippo mask before launching into another incomprehensible whirlwind of mangled vocals.

While Harrington’s antics didn’t always appear to be appreciated by the rest of the band – drummer Harrison Hayes seemed less than impressed throughout – judging by the crowd’s response they wouldn’t have had it any other way.

At times Harrington was an overshadowing force, but equally without the raw energy of the frontman’s performance it would have been a distinctly average display as musically the band’s indie-rock only came to life when Harrington was in full flight.