SMS #3 | Manic Pixie Dream

CHLOE LILAC

CHLOE LILACManic Pixie Dream

In the midst of the massive American underground scene, one particular artist has been making a name for herself across the web and standing out from the pack. She is the Brooklyn born and bred Chloe Lilac, and her brand new Manic Pixie Dream EP is a damn sweet introduction to what she has to offer.

Chloe has been tirelessly developing since the days of playing in the streets as a teen, and it shows here just far she has come, with a voice that not only spans a wide range pitch-wise, but also carries a hefty weight of emotion that is so raw and pure, never at any time appearing to be phony, and as a result you hang onto every one of her rich, magnetic lyrics.

In addition to forging a beautiful sense of ambience with a gorgeous chilled vibe, the superb production quality created helps to give each of the anthems a grander size and an extra dose of spice, particularly when it comes to the dazzling choruses.

Crammed with highlights such as Jesus Couldn’t Love Me, Heartbreak City and the excellent title track, Manic Pixie Dream is a thoroughly engrossing EP that ranks as one of the finest pop records we’ve come across as of late. After multiple listens, it’s no wonder as to why Chloe has been garnering plenty of attention; she’s a legitimate talent, plain and simple.

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THE MURDERBURGERSWhat A Mess

For over a decade now, The Murderburgers have persisted and developed into one of the most lucrative and noteworthy acts in the jam-packed Scottish punk scene, and they’ve only went and added another notch to their careers with their latest album, What A Mess.

At the front and centre of the group is Fraser, who in addition to showing his chops on the guitar, has this ability to convey a tonne of believable emotion and angst through his vocal work, and because of that, you get easily hooked onto the downbeat yet fantastic writing, a key element that defines more or less every song, with nothing coming to mind that doesn’t succeed in that regard.

It’s not just the lyrics though. The bulk of the tracks have an electric, rampant pace that makes them stimulating, and it doesn’t hurt a bit that the tight rhythm sequences courtesy of Noelle and Alex on the bass and drums respectively add an extra driving power to the music.

Being at a consistently high standard, the trio run off a strong momentum that never wavers at any point, and with very little in the way of flaws, What A Mess is hands down one of the most cracking punk records to have been unleashed from Scotland in recent memory, just maybe cementing The Murderburgers as the best of the genre that this country has to offer.

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till i fall

TILL I FALLAll I Have 

Since their formation way back in 2011, Till I Fall from California have taken their time in flourishing and building upon their abilities, and have developed into one of the West Coast’s most noteworthy and talented underground pop-punk acts, with their years-long journey finally culminating in the release of their debut full-length album – All I Have.

In a snap, they yank the notice of the listener as they kick off in hot fashion with their high-octane single Let Me Breathe, and from there, it’s a perpetual charge to the senses as they blitz through track after dynamic track which all carry this blistering energy, with regular breathers being provided during the carefully crafted, well placed interludes that link perfectly and create this flawless flow throughout.

The four guys bring everything that they’ve got here and add multiple layers to the range of tunes with a mix of fervent, expressive vocals, snappy guitars and rollicking beats, as well as some exceptional writing touching upon the almost daily uphill battle against negative situations that make a dent on our mental health, something that will certainly hit hard with many out there.

With an outstanding production being the cherry on top, this is an extraordinary record that succeeds to a high degree in virtually every area. An experience that is half a thrilling joyride and half an emotional encounter, it wouldn’t be such a stretch for us to claim this as one of the greatest pop punk albums we’ve had the pleasure of listening to, and if a major record label out there has any common sense, they would sign up this band pronto.

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foundlings

FOUNDLINGSFoundlings

Within the space of a year, Foundlings have emerged as one of the finest new indie rock acts to come out of England. Primarily based in London, the quartet have done wonders for themselves, building a fanbase across the country quickly and earning quite the bountiful amount of radio airplay.

And now, in association with the Last Night From Glasgow label, they’re here with their much anticipated self-titled debut EP, a collection of five exotic tunes encompassing a sleek, dreamy essence that is so delightful.

Each of the melodic tracks come equipped with ravishing harmonies, great fuzzy riffs, tender bass chords and smooth drum beats, while bringing their own distinct qualities to the table.

Whether it’s the addictive lead single Enemy, the heavier Busan or the bouncy Fall Out, this is a record that is nothing short of wonderful, exposing the wherewithal of four very capable musicians with the tools to make an even bigger impact down the road.

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OUTRIGHT

OUTRIGHT RESISTANCECargo Cult

It was late 2016 that we were first introduced to Stevenage metalcore outfit Outright Resistance when they came up to play Glasgow as part of their Me Vs UK Tour, and we quickly became fans.

Since then, there’s been a few changes, most notably the departure of the talented Paige on vocal duties, being replaced by the equally adept James in the role, and for the past number of months, they busted their butts to produce their first full-length release, Cargo Cult, and following some hefty promise, it turned out smashing.

James proved to be the right man to step up and fill the hole left by Paige, being one hell of a formidable vocalist boasting this mammoth voice that is simply impressive. But this is just one of several elements that shines, for the rest of the bunch hold nothing back in their performances; Joe and Grandad delivering some wild dual riffs, while Chris and Nelly bash out hard-hitting rhythms.

While not always necessarily strong in variety, the album is nevertheless loaded with a number of high-quality tunes. Among the focal points, we get the catchy Lone Wolf and title track, the rapid Holocene Epoch, and the breakdown-focused pairing of Gently and Fang & Bone, but the awesomely berserk Wretched One is the indisputable highlight of the lot, fueled by a crazy energy which leaves you almost knackered by the time it’s over.

Outright Resistance have went all in to create a superb record that totally fulfils our desire for an auditory ride which is heavy and insanely off-the-wall from bell to bell.

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VND

VISCERAL NOISE DEPARTMENTDistant Banging 

There are few acts in the Scottish scene that epitomise DIY more than the rat pack quartet of Visceral Noise Department, made up of the handsome Werninck brothers, the bearded beauty Brenden, and the multi-talented redheaded mistress Jenny.

They’ve captured the attention of us and several others over the last couple of years with batty live performances and some tasty demos to hand, and after grafting away in the studio, they’ve emerged at last with their first full-length album – Distant Banging – which we expected to be good, but the final result totally caught us off guard.

To begin with, the performances across the board are top notch, with all four members acing it in their respective roles – vocals, guitars, bass, drums, and whatever else they choose to thrown in. But that’s only scratching the surface, for there are two qualities that elevate this to another degree.

Firstly is their ability to tackle such a broad range of styles and sounds so effectively. Naturally, we get some sweet rock tunes, whether something more straightforward but catchy and hooking like Olympic Gold, or off-the-wall tracks with a mental energy such as Fetishising Struggle, Crazy 9, and Modern City Blues, each dotted with traces of metal and grunge.

But then we’re often presented with nice, slower songs, and then we get those that have a folky tone to them – the well-written Semi-Educated Delinquent, for example – or even going into a country-based direction of all things with Venus, and miraculously succeeding on that front. Because of the diverse nature of the record, you get an experience that is excitingly unpredictable.

Secondly is the sometimes deeply provoking lyrical content, which you wouldn’t immediately expect from a bunch like this at face value, but pieces including Made My Bed, Middle Class Hero and the tremendous Utopia feature some strong writing that has you totally sucked in, adding a surprising but much welcome level of maturity to the album.

Visceral Noise Department have knocked it out the park with what is undoubtedly the ultimate sleeper hit of 2019, completely shattered our initial expectations. The quartet have a tight chemistry that is as genuine as it gets, and with their combined skills, they have turned in by far one of the freshest records we’ve heard in a long, long time. Distant Banging is an outstanding effort, and it feels great.

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bad hombres

BAD HOMBRESProtest As You Please

In just a matter of months, the quartet of Bad Hombres have seen a swift rise into one of Glasgow’s most talked about fledgling young groups, with the pinnacle of their surge coming via their Protest As You Please EP.

The boys forge a sweet sound that blends together a mishmash of rock and roll, indie and punk, taking obvious inspiration from some of the most noteworthy groups that have defined said genres over the decades. The latter comes most blatantly apparent through the utterly engaging, hostile writing focusing on a range of social and political issues.

You can feel the bitterness and animosity just seething through the vocal work, digging into the eardrums of the listener with the close-to-home themes they want to get across, and that anguish is equally well reflected through the pounding drumming, sharp bass tones and blaring riffs.

With these aspects put forth into a selection of tracks that are short but striking, this is a record that makes an instant impact – especially on those with particular beliefs and attitudes – while putting Bad Hombres on the map as a must-see act in the city’s bustling scene.

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the half eight

THE HALF EIGHTRose Tinted Soul

Nottingham three-piece The Half Eight have done alright for themselves, haven’t they? In the space of five years, they’ve travelled and played across the country, been given the opportunity to play with a variety of big names and form a dedicated fanbase; in the process building a reputation as one of the country’s most must-see pop rock acts currently riding in the British underground.

With all that hype preceding them, they were given the test of putting together a debut record worthy of the standard that was expected of them. What came of it was the Rose Tinted Soul EP, and it is indeed worthy.

It doesn’t take long for them to make a good impression with the opener End It Right, which has a nice bounce to it and is highlighted by an infectiously jumping chorus. They keep the pace on form with the lyrically engaging Timezones, and lastly is If I Had You, a song that starts off on a gentle, acoustically-driven note before they gradually ramp up the size and finish on a satisfying high.

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colin h

COLIN HUNTERMaths Teacher

Admittedly, we knew nothing about Kilwinning musician Colin Hunter until only recently, when we were exposed to his talents courtesy of The 23 Podcast Show, and it just so happened that we caught him at the right time, for he has a new album out entitled Maths Teacher, and it’s a beauty.

Shifting out some nice wee pieces such as Bicycle Cycle, Infinity Vs Infinity and What Matters Doesn’t Matter, Colin not only sports a crisp, harmonic voice, but you can feel the authentic heart behind everything that he sings. The writing is as genuine and down to earth as it gets, and while some may consider the lyrics too nihilistic at parts, it only adds to the realism of the stories that he tells.

The majority of the tunes are driven by these appealing melodies, and it doesn’t take long to start humming along to the memorable sections. Eventually you’ll find yourself even mouthing the words in parts, and within the space of half an hour, you form an attachment to the woes personified through his music.

Maths Teacher is one of the most sincere records we’ve came across as of late, spawning from the head of a real fine bloke who doesn’t deserve to be left under the radar.

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scottC

SCOTT CANDLISHA Little While, A Bit Of Time 

Scott Candlish is quite the travelled man, having departed from his hometown of Melbourne in Australia a few years back, taking the plunge and moving across the sea all the way to Edinburgh in Scotland.

In that journey, he’s kept his music career rolling and has achieved success with a pair of EP’s and a non-stop flurry of gigs wherever he goes, local or otherwise, and his next chapter comes in the form of his latest record – A Little While, A Bit Of Time.

The songs are characterised by a warm and welcoming folk-based sound; a departure from Scott’s previously rock-focused direction, which showcases his ability to undertake multiple musical styles effectively.

There’s a decent diversity between the numbers that keep them fresh, but each always feature three elements where Scott excel, those being his heartfelt harmonies, slick acoustics and great, gripping lyrics centred around his interesting life experiences and the natural fallout from those.

A spiffing introduction to a guy with obvious talent, and we can only hope that he continues to do what he does best and reap the rewards for his dedicated efforts.

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shallowpools

SHALLOW POOLSSpring

The alternative pop trio of Shallow Pools have been gaining our attention over the past few months and have become one of our favourite recent discoveries from the USA; a deal sealed by their new EP – Spring.

There are many things to love here, starting with each of the ladies’ individual performances – Glynnis leads the songs with her fabulous vocals, the riffs from Jess are regularly swell, and Ajemian is a capably solid drummer.

The tunes featured on this run off some sweet, easy-going melodies that are accentuated by addicting choruses which make a mark, with Sinking, Room To Breathe and the namesake number being the go-to choices in regards of that, plus the writing isn’t half bad.

While not exactly complex and even a touch repetitive in spots, this is a fun little record we have here that is simple but entertaining and will be sure to appeal to a wide audience.

The three are only going to improve from here anyway, so best to keep an eye on this bunch, as they have the potential to go far.

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all in due time

ALL IN DUE TIME – Young And Dumb

If you fancy yourself a fan of pop punk, then it’s worth focusing your attention on the New York trio of All In Due Time, who after a couple of years of grinding in their local scene are set to release their debut EP – Young And Dumb.

Taking a page out of the books from the all-time greats, the band’s songs hit a grand slam with a blend of hooking, easily relatable lyrics, catchy as hell choruses and a thriving spirit prevalent throughout.

Zeke brings a passion to his singing as he and Frank put in a good effort in their combined guitar work, while Joshua holds his own leading the peppy rhythms with the bass in tow.

A few rough patches here and there, but ultimately little harm done. Overall, this is a great first record that legitimately impressed us, and we believe that that this is only the beginning of what should be a prosperous career for the boys.

***AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 22ND MARCH***


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#25 | Rolland Square – Bloc (19.02.19)

Rolland


The alternative rock quartet Quotes Of The Dead are a group whose name have been in our sights for months on end and had kept missing out on for various reasons. But as we promised guitarist Brian back in December when we first met him, we would be down some day, and this was that day.

The four quickly fired through a batch of great tunes that had an energy to them, with the majority boasting really fine, often catchy choruses. They were each defined by Lauren’s good harmonies, Brian’s effects-laden riffs and smashing rhythms produced by the equally tight pairing of John and James.

Top picks that meshed these elements best included Control Alt DeletePainting Pictures and Filthy Dog, and the slower number Dancing Dolls was pretty likable too and made for a nice change of pace to throw into the mix.

Admittedly, they were a little still on spots and could have done more to let loose, but that’s small beans that can be developed and worked on anyway.

Regardless of that, they did manage to turn the heads of plenty of punters who were simply in for the drink. The talent is there, and we can easily recommend them to new listeners. They also happen to be proficient in the art of the dominant handshake.


Rolland Square were practically brand new to us, although we did get a taste of them beforehand via their demo on Soundcloud, and we fancied what we heard and knew we’d be in for something promising. The results lived up to expectations.

Within a verse or so, the boys had our attention with some excellent indie songs that had an infectious pep to them. The vocals were on continuously strong form, the guitar work was supremely good, the bass tones firm and the drum beats damn solid.

Along with enjoyable lyrics in their depository, the melodies had a grasp on us, and we caught ourselves tapping our foot along throughout, as demonstrated in the likes of Blackened HeartFall Apart and Ticket To Nowhere. They even attracted some loving cheers from some adoring fangirls who entered halfway in.

Granted, there were a couple of visibly shabby mistakes, but honestly it did little damage to what was otherwise a cracking set from a band who could potentially go far further down the road if given decent enough exposure.

 

 

 

 

#24 | Bis – The Hug & Pint (17.02.19)

BISGIG


The venue was decked out with balloons and the walls plastered with animal masks, adding a colourful element to the cosy albeit pitch dark room.

Up first was BooHooHoo, and it had been a whole 2 years since we were graced with their presence, the last time being at Stereo as part of the LNFG 1st Birthday Bash event. We’ve been in love with them since their debut EP was unleashed upon the world back in 2016, and we were dying to see them in action again.

Liz was her usual smiley, bubbly self, armed with excellent vocals and, as is her wont, she twice whipped out and stylishly showed her chops on the flute. Rich was great in his mixture of roles, Charlotte – who we had seen just a couple of nights prior alongside Apache Darling – was fabulous and expressive as always, and lastly was Shaun who was top notch on the kit.

Together, the quartet were quite active and animated, despite the limited space capacity on the totsy stage. We got a line of fancy shmancy new material that was delightfully melodic and hooking, showcasing their dazzling electronic pop sound dripping with essences of disco; the closing number stood out especially in that regard; and they busted out classics like Now Is The Season, the awesome Dreams Tonight and the snappy Fire, plus their tight cover of Easy Lover went down a storm.

Although they claimed to be “schtiff” due to their sobriety, we thought that they aced it with a high quality performance that was consistently energised and on the go, and it surely earned them a handful of new fans in the process.

BooHooHoo are, in our mind, right up there in the upper echelons in terms of Glasgow’s finest live acts, and we are so looking forward to what they have in store for us in the near future. Whatever it’ll be, we will be more or less guaranteed to like it.


Now it was our chance to catch Scottish underground pop icons Bis on stage for what would be the last of a 3 show weekender within the city. Given that fact, would that have any effect at all? Would there be any rust or fatigue? The short answer: nope. The long answer?

Well, they entered to the sound of raucous cheers and applause – a heroes’ welcome, if you like – and fired out with selections from Slight Disconnects, including all our personal favourites Sound Of A Heartbreak, Dracula and No Point, which got the sold out ocean of people in a buzz, before they dug into a treasure trove of vintage material that was a fruitful treat for the hardcore fans.

There was not a single dull song, every individual one being bare minimum electrifying, with the most passionate reactions sparked by the likes of KandyTell It To The Kids and Monstarr, each chocked with amazingly bouncy rhythms and insanely catchy choruses.

The lovely Manda displayed a tonne of youthful glee and her harmonies were fantastic, while John and Steve to her right were leaping around merrily as they dished out some sweet riffs alongside their own solid, enthusiastic vocals. Any knackering pains from the previous gigs were not immediately apparent. Shortness of breath in spots, sure, but they were running off such a blood-pumping adrenaline that rubbed on the people.

It was as if we were transported back to the 1990’s, when the trio were in their prime and this all seemed to be a mirror image of what their shows would have been like: hysterical folk in a hot and sweaty cramped space, going wildly ballistic and having the time of their lives, while ourselves would be sat at home, simultaneously hearing those same three voices blare out the telly during the credits of our beloved childhood programme, The Powerpuff Girls.

We talk about their prime, but honestly, even though they were obviously not as young, they still gave it everything and it felt like we were witnessing them at their A-game. And on that note, the elder attendees surrounding us were mental, way more than us young’uns could have ever been – on a Sunday night, no less! – and it was a bloody brilliant sight. We can only hope to be that cool when we reach that age.

Closing out with the landmark Eurodisco and The Big Sunshine, and exiting with as much open appreciation from the audience as they began, it was a phenomenal, literally breath-taking party from start to finish that we were grateful to be front row for.

It may not be their mainstream heyday, but given the crazy atmosphere that enveloped The Hug & Pint on this night, it sure as hell felt like it. There was no negativity or bitterness involved, just three musicians doing what they do best – providing entertainment on a wonderful scale.

 

 

 

#23 | The Underdogs – The 13th Note (16.02.19)

theunderdogs2


Kicking off the night was our good Kirkcaldy pal – Rebecca Radical – the second time we were seeing her following New Hellfire Club’s Carnival Of The Dark Arts in September.

Armed with not much more than her acoustic guitar, she delivered top choices such as Punk IdeologyWar Is Sh*t and Be Intense, featuring engaging, down-to-earth lyrics that had us and a lot of other folk hooked and hanging on every word backed by genuine emotion, as well as sharp bitterness where applicable.

She’s slowly but surely improving her live game, making an effort to address the audience as she played and not simply staring down at her instrument all the way, and she’s only getting more confident too; even when dropping her pick or accidentally playing the wrong song, she was cool and dusted it off without much hassle.

Some may be turned off by how raw and bare her material and style are on the surface, but that’s the appeal in our opinion. It’s both DIY and punk in a nutshell – two qualities that Rebecca perfectly personifies – stripped to their basic foundations, and she pulls it off nicely.


We got a tasty preview of the young trio Death To Noodles during their soundcheck, so we were looking forward to them. We walked into a bizarre kazoo intro, something we don’t see enough at gigs honestly, but that was only the beginning.

They blazed into a line-up of fast and frantic tracks, both originals and covers, that had this blistering, off-the-wall energy to them that was just constant and satisfying. In particular, the charmingly titled P*ss On The Cops was a catchy belter, and we even got a cracking rendition of Rancid’s Radio.

The riffs were swift to the point of being a blur, the bass tones were seriously punchy and the drum beats were kinetic. The dual vocals were great too, even if it sounded like they were giving out on a couple of occasions.

We were damn impressed. In a room full of older, grizzled veterans who knew the score, the youth got the chance to showcase their huge potential, and we’ll definitely be keeping a close watch on these three moving forward.


And speaking of grizzled veterans, long-running Yorkshire legends and featured act of the night The Underdogs were next, and it became quickly apparent why they have earned such a following over the years.

The frontman U.G, loaded with fire and booze, was well into it, being blunt in everything he sung and keeping a firm grip on those watching. It was impossible to take your eyes off him. Meanwhile, we got slick, screeching riffs courtesy of Col, solid bass tones from Martin , and Bill, utterly soaked in sweat, was belting it out full force on the drums.

The lads were putting in their all in the process, and their rocking numbers were both rampant and energetic; so addictive that we and the audience couldn’t get enough of it, culminating in a sea of skinheads going bonkers in the middle.

They were as raw and old school as it gets, and it was entertaining stuff to watch.


After that scene, it was now time for the rough and gruff quintet Half Charge to finish off the show, and what a way to do so.

Leading bloke Joe, flanked by his stunt double, was as ruthless as they come, armed with a fiercely rugged voice that was thunderous, especially when he was lobbing out his F’s and C’s left, right and centre. A beast of a man.

He was at the forefront of these banging, barbaric tracks dotted with profane lyrics that struck a chord with the working class locals in attendance – SnowflakeWhite Trash and Razor’s Edge being the undisputed highlights for us personally – and loaded with aggressive guitar work by Danny and Ross, and driving rhythms from Tezz and Stu that were just intoxicating.

Everyone in the room was infused and endlessly begging for encores, and who could blame them? It was a bloody good, no holds barred set to wrap things up in the most punk fashion possible. OI, OI, OI!

 

 

#22 | November Lights – Nice N Sleazy (15.02.19)

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Coming down from up north in Aberdeen, The 101 were an act that rang a bell, having seen their name floating around our feeds, but we never actually took the chance to check them out; at the very least, we had heard positive things about them.

It turned out that we got only one sixth of them – the frontman, Dexter – and although in a stripped back situation, he alone did quite the job in impressing us with a line-up of “depressing love songs” at his disposal.

Dex boasted one hell of a grand, astounding voice backed up by a broad range and full-on emotion. In addition, he was an excellent keyboard player, and we enjoyed the writing of the content too. He was confident, and as he progressed, folk gradually warmed up and approached the front to get a closer look.

Capping off with First & Last, it was a stunning performance that served as a nice sampler platter for what The 101 have to offer. Our curiosity was now attention, and we hope to see the group in their entirety sooner than later.


Apache Darling have been one of our favourite local synthpop bands for the past couple of years or so, having cemented our fandom with their amazing Bubblegum EP in 2018, and after having not seen them for so long, they undoubtedly brought their best to the table here.

Stef was an incredible frontwoman; so exuberant, glamourous and animated in everything she did, and she helms such a resounding pair of vocal cords. Equally as fabulous was Charlotte, with lovely harmonies in her own right as well as superb basslines.

Andrew, appearing to have fully recovered from nearly chopping his finger off like a silly billy a little while back, multi-tasked his butt off with sweet keys and synths, and Danny as always was absolutely top notch on the drumming side of things.

They gave us a mishmash of tunes such as GroundWeapon and the title track of their aforementioned record, and all were catchy and utterly infectious. In fact, there was a moment where one of the venue’s staff members passing by paused to watch them for a minute, obviously liking what he was seeing and hearing.

A really tight display from one of the best of their kind in the Glasgow scene, who have constantly proven to belong in a bigger league than where they currently sit.


For ages now, Ayrshire duo November Lights have been throwing their name about and impressing seemingly everybody within close proximity, but until this point, we kept missing out on them live, but now with nothing stopping us, we can safely say that they were quality.

The place was jammed from wall to wall as they got ready. It was sweltering – the pains of having a fat jacket – and there was a buzz in the air. Tech issues delayed them, but eventually they got going with flying colours as folk sang back the words to Pray.

The four on stage did admittedly seem a touch shaken because of the early problems at first, but they did find a groove and only got better with each passing melodic number, highlighted by memorable choruses that had those in attendance completely fixated, such as the bouncing Black & Blue, the tremendous slower piece Stay and the hooking Too Little Too Late.

Naturally, their signature song Talk sparked an ensemble of unified “oooooh’s” from the crowd, plus they earned an encore in which they delivered not one but two bonus tunes, and this included the energetic and electrifying Lonely, made better by a multitude of voices echoing the lyrics.

James was a great vocalist, capable on the keys and engrossed in what he did, and he was flanked by Nathan, who was also prime on the bass, and they were accompanied by cool riffs and ripe drum beats from their fellow musicians.

Despite faults outwith their control, the boys still turned in a superb outing that was professionally carried and confirmed that they were in fact the real deal that everyone claimed them to be. No doubt that we need to catch them at another gig down the road.

 

#21 | EBB – Ivory Blacks (14.02.19)

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Aberdeen “booze rock titans” Deadfire were kicking off the show, one of two fresh new faces to us. Erin from EBB had positive things to say about them beforehand, and damn she was right.

The vocalist Charlie was imposing both in physical stature and stage presence, with a heavyweight brawn behind his voice all the way, and at one point, he unleashed his inner King Kong and climbed up the speaker, proving to be a master of balance.

The reminder of the quartet formed some pure rocking rhythms with an addictive sense of energy to them. Jonny, who didn’t want us to stare directly at him, was great on the guitar, the tweed-dropping Boothy belted out these thick resounding bass chords, and the drumming from Tunk added an extra pulse.

There was little time mucking about, and they kept that fiery flow on the go throughout. A rally of headbanging initiated behind us, and as time passed, the front barrier filled with more folk, drawn in by the beauty of what was unfolding.

The crowd fun, the band had fun, and we had fun, it was kick-arse stuff. Who needs an expensive candlelit dinner on Valentine’s Day when you have Deadfire, who were worth the admission fee alone.


Now for a breather courtesy of Laurie Talbot-Heigh, an act that we were familiar with, having seen him in this very venue mere months before, and now he was flying solo acoustically this turn around.

There was a definite improvement in some areas since then, with Laurie again proving to be a fine guitarist and a decent writer, but most notably, he displayed a sharp versatility in his vocals. The only real issue is that his confidence was visibly a little shaky, as he was certainly a little tense and he looked a bit distracted by others in the venue.

But honestly, the problems were more those on stage as opposed to this actual performing. He’s a capable guy with plenty of potential to unlock, he’s still young yet and we do believe he could go far if able to iron out the faults.

If anything, he managed to lead the people on an Iron Man acapella, and that was a cool moment.


It had been 4 years since we were introduced to Erin Bennett, being given the chance to review her then-new album ReFlowered, which was eventually named our favourite solo record of 2015, and in 2018, she made another significant impact under the reformed guise of EBB with Post Sexy Post Truth.

Obviously we’ve been big fans of her, but in all that time, we unfortunately never had the opportunity to see her and the group live in person. Until now.

Erin – when not choking on her own hair – was a sensational frontwoman as predicted, with such a fierce intensity behind her singing, her riffage and her style in general. She was backed up by the fabulously charismatic pairing of Suna and Kitty. Finn whipped out some slick bass chords, and we got a mixture of fancy keys and synths from Nikki and battering beats from Anna.

We got a kick out of such memorable favourites like UnderTwofolds The Pain and Hecate, and we made a connection with the emotionally-pulling Suicide.

One third ravishing, one third theatrical and one third dynamic, making for what was on the whole an entertaining set from the unified entourage. This was years in the making, and totally worth it.


And now for the Stirling headliners, The Cobalts, who we were completely unfamiliar to us beforehand, and they had brought a sizable amount of people along for this night.

The boys gave us a collection of nice, catchy indie rock numbers highlighted by an often chipper pace and satisfying choruses, backed up by their performances consisting of polished harmonies, neat riffs and a solid rhythm section. Folk swayed along to the melodies, and a couple of mixed dancing/drinking sessions were going on beside us too.

While not quite hitting the same level as EBB before them, they still put in a clearly considerable effort. It was not too shabby at all, and made for a good way to wrap up the show. As with Laurie, these are young guys with potentially bright futures if able to step up their games.

 

#20 | The Faim – King Tuts (05.02.19)

the faim


4 years ago, a rock band from Italy named Halflives (formerly Over) came across from Europe to Glasgow for the first time, and we were made fans there and then. They would make their return in 2017, and now here they were again in 2019 opening up a successful tour. Not too shabby.

The four wasted little motion and battered straight into Mayday and Half Alive, in the process bringing a load of energy onto the stage. Linda was a great singer as always, and showed this positive enthusiasm through, getting involved with the people at front row as much as possible, while the boys turned in good efforts too while they bounced around so fervidly, playing other notably excellent tracks such as CrownLone Wolf and Fugitive.

There were a whole batch of new young faces for them to convert, who were unsure at first, but gradually they warmed up to them and got more hooked as the set moved along, peaking at what was a special moment where everybody illuminated the room with phone lights for Collide.

Finishing up with the emotionally riding Burn, which was greeted by the entire place getting down and leaping up in unison, it was a sweet triumph for Halflives as they won over the locals and proved why they are a promising band that can’t be passed by.


Chapel were the one act on the bill that we were completely blind to going on, so there wasn’t much in the way of expectations. They walked on to the classy as ever HWFG chants, and it didn’t take long for the duo to get folk invested again, with a lot of movement around us and woo’s echoing about.

Carter, who sure as hell liked blinding himself with his beanie, had a lot of free space up there and he made sure to use all of it, launching himself around without much of a care, all the while displaying heaps of confidence which definitely boosted his presence. In the background, Kortney kept up with these pounding drum beats added both meat and a catchiness to the jumping songs that they dished out.

Our main issue is that when Carter ditched the guitar for a majority of the numbers, relying solely on the drumming and the backing electronics, the sound was lacking and it left an empty feeling in places. However, they recovered towards the end when the guitar was brought back in and they gave us the smashing pair of Friends and We’ve Got Soul, the latter sparking a venue-wide clapping frenzy.

So they didn’t always click, but when it worked, it was solid stuff that still had a handful of good qualities to hold our attention from beginning to end. We might just check out their new record once it’s released, who knows?


If you want the honest truth, the real reason that we bought tickets to this show was to see Halflives again, but in the weeks leading up, we checked out The Faim’s latest EP and were convinced pretty swiftly, so we went in with some buzz.

The crowd were occupied with a playlist featuring Smash Mouth and Linkin Park before the guys eventually made their way on and got off to a blistering start that had people headbanging along, and that electricity didn’t simmer as they drove along.

Josh was a seriously charismatic frontman, and you could see in his face that he genuinely cared about every single little thing he was doing, with nothing farce about him at all as he gave 110%. His devotion evidently rubbed off on everybody as they followed each of his commands, whether that be to clap, sing along or jump, and boy, did they jump, considering how much the floor shook at our feet to a point where we could have sworn that we were all on the verge of falling right through down to the bar.

Sam’s riffs were great, Stephen shined with equally excellent basslines and synths, and the drumming from Linden had a dynamic punch to it. Most of the numbers in their arsenal were just brilliant, getting us engaged with charged melodies that reached boiling point at the catchy choruses, with such worthy examples being the new single Fire, the wild I Can Feel You and the intoxicating as f*** My Heart Needs To Breathe, all topped off with amazing hooks.

But the highlight by far had to be Where The River Runs, where Josh came out into the middle of the audience and gave such an emotional, heart-wrenching performance that was so gripping, obviously having an impact on the teary-eyed fans that surrounded him. A powerful moment.

Making their exit with much love and appreciation for the paying attendees, it was a stellar experience to be part of that not only lived up to the hype that the Aussies had established for themselves, but also showed just much of a special effect that one band and their music can make on people, providing a distraction from the negativity of their lives for even just a brief time, and that’s exactly what The Faim did on this very night.