It’s a New Year – everyone’s in good spirits for a while but then there’s the realisation that you’re skint and there’s a whole lack of live entertainment in January until Celtic Connections kicks off.
That’s not necessarily true as King Tut’s remedy the dead season with their fortnight long festival entitled New Year’s Revolution, which takes the opportunity to showcase an array of excellent Scottish acts at a time when up and coming touring acts aren’t packing their headline slots.
Tonight might well be the highlight of shows in question as four of the best local DIY rockers are allowed to show of their powers in a very cohesive bill.
As soon as you glance at the stage you notice a symbol with chunks bitten out of and then the all round battered and beaten gear, something that becomes something of a theme as all acts of offer tonight display similar DIY tendencies, however all with their own twist.
First up are local trio GARDEN OF ELKS and early signs of confidence in enticing the audience forward are backed up as they plough into their noisy alt-punk set.
With these guys it’s hard to draw away from the charm of the dual vocal as male and female voice bounce off each other in an addictive fashion; the more laid back male lead is met by a shrill female vocal and balance each other out in a way Black Francis and Kim Deal used to do so well.
Rave Child has skirted around their obvious comparisons before and these guys, like most acts on this bill, do share connections with latest Glasgow favourites PAWS, in GARDEN OF ELKS’ case Matthew Scott of said band produced their last EP, but there are also hints of surf rock influence akin to PAWS that will become a theme to the night.
Glasgow four-piece Secret Motorbikes continue that surf theme but add hints of garage rock as their set is received excitedly to what is the biggest crowd of the night.
Yeah they might not be dressed as KISS like the last time we reviewed them but they’re out to impress following a disappointing turn out for their last show, but no-one goes to the GU for music anyway, in fact does anyone go full spot?
Perhaps Secret Motorbikes are the most well rounded of tonight’s acts, the turnout certainly shows that wider appeal and lead vocalist Marty’s confident exchanges with the crowd are only trumped by the band’s catchy alternative chops.
There are real points where these guys soar and some belting tracks in their new material packed set, after this we can’t wait to hear what they have to offer on record and with a new record on the horizon it shouldn’t be too long a wait.
Kill Surrrf continue on the surf vibes further and not only in name, the four-piece created by vocalist and guitarist Johnny Lynn channel reverb ridden sweeping guitar pop sounds that warm the audience, and caused a nice sit down affair when they played a Rave Child hosted event not long ago.
Tonight the set is a bit more energetic but it maintains the cared flow that they have had before, Kill Surrrf sway more away from catchy side tonight’s bill with minimal vocals and a trance-like feel, but the former one man bedroom recording project certainly know how to woo an audience.
Lastly, it’s Deathcats and it’s safe to say we like them, in fact they ranked number three on Rave Child’s tracks of last year, and they are the perfect band to end this bill.
The local trio fires on all cylinders produce a fast addictive set of sunkist surf punk that you can’t help but like.
Deathcats’ tracks are short but sweet and maintain a delightful summery vibe, which has you questioning why their superb EP, The Raddest, wasn’t held back for warmer temperatures after a release late last year.
Still, it could well last the pace and be a summer soundtracker – certainly set closer ‘I Wish It Was Summer’ conjures all the warm connotations of a fun filled time – something that is had by all on a freezing January evening but maybe would be a touch contradictory in the summer – maybe I’ll withdraw the statement of the EP’s release date.
Words: Iain Dawson