THIS weekend, a two-day showcase of excellent live music, workshops and events comes to Paisley hosted by the Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs).

With the majority of events taking place at Paisley Arts Centre, the first SAMAs Paisley Takeover is aimed at musicians and fans alike, with the live line-up featuring Sway, Pronto Mama and Francophile chanteuse Siobhan Wilson (left) on Saturday night.

On Friday evening there’s spoken word from local wordsmiths Robert Blair and Shaun Moore and live sets from Out Lines, the collaboration from The Twilight Sad’s James Graham, 2015’s Scottish Album of the Year winner Kathryn Joseph and acclaimed producer Marcus Mackay.

Out Lines, whose Conflats album was one of the most arresting albums of last year, will be supported by Heir of the Cursed, a solo musician and poet whose atmospheric guitar and tender vocals promise an intimate start to the evening.

“I spoke with Out Lines about who would be the most suitable support and we both agreed Heir of the Cursed would work best,” says Paisley Takeover manager Richy Muirhead who founded the SAMAs in 2009 while studying music at university. “It’s going to be really special, in this small auditorium where you should be able to hear a pin drop.”

Emme Woods, another performer with a talent for conjuring a similarly intense and intimate atmosphere, will perform an acoustic set on Saturday afternoon at Paisley record shop Feel The Groove before she heads over to Texas to play music industry convention South By Southwest.

A two-minute walk from the Arts Centre, the shop is based on the site of Apollo Music in Causeyside Street and is run by Gavin Simpson. He took over the space previously run by Mike Dillon, who retired around 18 months ago after working for 30 years behind the counter.

The first act announced for the SAMAs Paisely Takeover were town natives The Vegan Leather, and the disco-synth four-piece head an afternoon of seminars and workshops with a lesson in songwriting and a Q&A. Ian Crawford of El Rancho Records will then join J-Bone promoter Alana Hepburn and Conor Goldie of Public Records to discuss their DIY approach, while artist manager and promoter Nicky Carder, Tenement TV’s Nadine Walker and broadcaster Jim Gellatly will lead a discussion on how to best showcase your band on a national level.

The afternoon seminars, which are free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, will culminate with DJ Vic Galloway in conversation with former Simple Minds manager, record shop owner and broadcaster Bruce Findlay on his long career in the music business.

Muirhead, who is currently putting together a SAMAs stage for XpoNorth, the creative industries festival run each June in Inverness, is also beginning to plan this year’s SAMAs ceremony in October.

The weekend Takeover, an event he has long wanted to stage, is being funded by Renfrewshire Council through the area’s Culture and Heritage Fund, which was created as part of the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

On the night in December when it was announced that Coventry had won the bid ahead of the Renfrewshire town, Stoke on Trent, Swansea and Sunderland, three words were beamed on to Paisley Abbey: “Our journey continues”.

The only town to have ever made the shortlist, Paisley, said bid director Jean Cameron, “had punched above its weight once again”. The energy and partnerships fostered over the two years of the bid, Cameron continued, meant that “the next chapter in our story is only just beginning”.

“Obviously it was disappointing not to get the title, so this is part of the legacy of that,” says Muirhead. “I’d been thinking of doing something like this for ages, and with the funding I think we have cracked it. Having a budget allows you to be more creative and work towards things you wouldn’t be able to necessarily do.

He adds: “This is a really exciting range of events across one big weekend, and it’s all about bringing together a lot of people from the music industry, a lot of people who study music, and getting them all in one town for the weekend. Hopefully they’ll make some connections, and it will bring some excitement to Paisley, which is great.”

Tickets for the free workshops and seminars, as well as for the Friday evening gig with Heir of the Cursed and Out Lines (£12 plus booking fee), and for the Saturday evening gig with Sway, Siobhan Wilson and Pronto Mama (£10 plus booking fee) can be booked from and Paisley Arts Centre on 0300 300 1210