Live review: Croc Madame Vs. Croc Monsieur at the Art School 4/3/11

Wandering into the Art School just before 9pm, everything seems to be simply buzzing about tonight’s event, it could easily be the best line up of Glasgow acts you will see this year. A superbly mouth-watering event put on Croc Vs Croc as they return in glorious fashion.

Tangles kicks off the night with an ever-flowing sound collage captivating the early birds and wetting the appetite with some gentler delights before the evening explodes into sheer riot.

It’s the turn of tonight’s benefactors next in North American War, who along with Fur Hood (who play something a bit different as Bong Monster tonight) will hit the roads on the west coast of America come the end of the month bringing a touch of Glasgow to the States.

As the band’s multi-instrumentalist Michael Marshall thanks the building audience for sending them on holiday and exchanges humble replies of “you’re welcome,” “no, you’re welcome” the band begin their trawl through their surreal musical landscape. There’s something captivating about NAW as guitarist Anna Schneider and drummer Kevin Frew exchange vocals over a strong lo-fi sound. A quick plug for a tape they have on sale and it’s onto the next act.

It wouldn’t really be right to go any further without mentioning the set up tonight, two stages stand facing each other with bands alternating between then for the most of the night. The usual stage is set up with a screen hosting an array of bizarre images including various disturbing images of Charlie Sheen’s face mashed in with heavily pixelated porn and creepy cat close ups. It certainly sets a theme for the night as it accelerates towards riotous spectacle everyone is hoping for.

John Knox Sex Club are up next and don’t let down as they up the tempo once again with their drawl loud, very Scottish alternative rock. Frontman Sean Cumming seems more up for the night than most as he powers into the middle of the capacity crowd at every opportunity leaving the mic with a few members at the end repeating the line “we’ll stay as close, as close as we can” over and over while the band plays and Cumming disappears. Brilliant!

Then comes the sort of calm before the storm, not the usual statement you would make about The Cosmic Dead but they come on much earlier than scheduled and delight with some perfectly enlightening drone and not covered in the usual cloud of smoke and strobe you can actually see their hairy selves for once.

They are followed by possibly the biggest crowd puller into Remember Remember and although it’s just a solo set from Graeme Roland he catches beautifully those blissful bleepy soundscapes that the band, which is essentially his project, has become related with. Throw in a cheeky ‘Hey Ya!’ cover and you’ve got a set.

Then it’s time to go off the rails beginning with Holy Mountain who smash through a set powerful doom filled riffs in what is to be their last show for a while. Tonight the Black Sabbath covers we have become accustomed to in recent shows are gone as the band give their original material a last airing before returning with some new stuff in a few months time.

By the time the night’s feast of hardcore begins everything is getting pretty hazy, as nearly everyone in the venues excitement, energy and drunkeness collide in explosive fashion for both Ultimate Thrush and Pro Life’s sets. The powerful hardcore produced by both acts sets the crowd into fits of moshing and as the bands play off each other and introduce a tug-o-war across the entire floor the room is mess of people pulling back and forth, falling over, getting stood on only to get up and continue with it. The good spirit engaged in this sheer entertainment is something everyone will look back on favourably, if they remember that is.

A set from Divorce pulls back another mass crowd and some more arm failing moshing, not even a broken string can stop the mayhem for too long as a new guitar is supplied and raucous is restored.

The floor doesn’t empty until the very end of the night as Cry Parrot’s Fielding Hope sets everyone a dancing and rounds off what will be one of the most memorable nights Glasgow will see this year.

Photos by Stewart Fullerton and Usman Malik

See more pics here

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