Kilwinning band Refuge Island have not been around long, but they’ve been making waves fast with a strong debut single and being recruited by management, and we were keen to see how they would translate onto the stage. They charged out the gates with The Blame, and from there would dish out a batch of other pungent, aggressive punky numbers such as Fever and Above Board.
Wullie was a perfect fit for the tone of the material, with a blunt attitude in his singing. Darren’s riffs were intense, John busted out bass chords real fast, and Stephen – while suffering from bad luck with a dropped stick and a falling cymbal – still kept up with his equally rapid drumming; accompanied by that one happy chap in the crowd proudly stomping away.
Few slips aside, it was a solid enough set from an act who are clearly still in their infancy, but could potentially develop into something more prominent down the line.
We became fans of Cats With Glasses dead quick after we got hooked onto their debut EP the month before, and we were quite excited to see if they could recapture the magic live. The short answer was yes.
As they broke in with Fit For Flight and Breakthrough, they switched up the energy and got a buzz going in a room now more packed with people, the majority of them being fans that knew the score and responded with much love via clapping and the like.
The bulk of their tunes were catchy and infectious. Those from the aforementioned record sounded cracking, while the fresh new songs were up to scratch. Jack delivered great harmonies, and he and Connor both gave us excellent guitar work. Tam was fluent on the bass, and Daniel was so concentrated in his craft on the kit, and effectively so.
It was impressive stuff from the four. We have high hopes for these guys, even at this early stage of the game, and we think they have a tasty amount of future potential lurking.
Now we moved into what was unfamiliar territory for ourselves, starting with Franky’s Evil Party from Dumfries, and yeah…this was something else.
The frontman Josh had this bizarre yet damn strong presence that was so brash but so fixating, and he backed that up with mental vocals. The rest of the sweaty shirtless outfit (well okay, not Megan on the latter) excelled too, with screeching riffs, sturdy chords, hefty cymbal crashes and catchy electronic beats all loaded in there.
When their tracks were at their calmest, they were smooth and had nifty grooves to them, but when they hit the other end of the spectrum, it was bloody insane. The profane writing was hooking, and the crowd were caught up in the madness, especially the red-hot front row yelling back and dancing along. Most, if not all, of the tunes were belters, with the immense King sticking out the most as the lyrics were echoed around the venue.
Whatever in the blue hell it was that we had just witnessed, it was a fresh, beautiful sight to behold.
And lastly were Bad Hombres, whose name we had seen kicking all over online, and much like the lot of the other headliners new to us, we were converted into fans.
Admittedly, it took us a while to regain the buzz after the preceding chaos of Franky’s, but we were soon won over. The set was good to begin with, and they gradually garnered momentum and we became all the more invested, especially with the subject matters their songs centred around, with focal points including Yes Men, Protest As You Please and Theresa, all lyrically sound across the board and tackled in a bitter manner.
Their vocal games were top notch, the riffs were sweet and the rhythms had a pumping energy to them, particularly when they kicked it into a higher gear. The choruses tended to be ace, and they had a clear grasp on the crowd who filled the room to the brink.
A mixture of raw, resonant content and an obvious chemistry on stage made this a satisfying way to cap off the show. Bad Hombres had officially entered our radar, and they sure wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
P.S. Hiip Priest’s DJ playlist was by far the best from any gig of #KTNYR19 so far, just saying.