It’s always an adventure of sorts catching a group you know nothing of, whether you end up watching your new favourite band, or whether you make a mental note to stay well away in the future.
The Rockalls are the curtain raisers tonight at The Old Hairdressers, and much to my delight, establish themselves in the former category, opener ‘Never Coming Back’ echoes ‘Take it from the Man!’era Brian Jonestown Massacre and from that impressive start they don’t let up.
The set borrows quite heavily from 1960s garage rock, but they throw in a cover of ‘The Model’ by Kraftwerk (“from The Man-Machine album, 1978”, 20-year-old frontman Dominic Orr brusquely informs the not insubstantial crowd) and at one point borrow the refrain from Iggy Azalea’s ‘I’m So Fancy’, which doesn’t work so well, but the fearlessness is infectious.
With rousing set highlight ‘Miss Cliche’ due for release later this year, this is a very good first impression indeed -danke schön, fellas.
Comparatively, Secret Motorbikes have long passed first impression stage, and over the course of this show they simply affirm my belief that they’re the gold standard for melodic, fuzzy rock in the city.
Tonight they’re on highly entertaining form from the get go walking on stage to Mark Knopfler’s ‘Local Hero’ they burst straight into ‘Fast Cheap and Good’, a highlight from debut album Rum Punch, followed by recent single ‘Is Di$ 4 Real’ which is one part Echo and the Bunnymen, one part church of the latter day Strokes, fine influences to have, but Secret Motorbikes have their own identity stamped over these songs, which are as direct and addictive as pop at its best should be.
Upcoming single ‘Missing’ plays around with a reggae influence, more ‘Guns of Brixton’ than ‘Mr. Boombastic’, but the highlight tonight is ‘Top Five’ where the band are joined by a pair of enthusiastic mystery guest vocalists who add additional texture to a flawless pop song that deserves to be heard by more people – catch up, world!
The Audacity, from Fullerton, California, are in Glasgow for the first time tonight, and no doubt they’ll be talking about this show for the rest of their jaunt around Europe.
They’re advertised on tonight’s poster as “U.S. garage punk party starters”, and although the party has long started, it’s as if they’re the latecomers who brought tequila, beer and hi-vis vests for everyone.
Barely pausing for breath between songs, they deliver a 45-minute set that sends a partisan group of fans into frenzy right from the opening blast, and has the uninitiated paying total and undivided attention.
‘Subway Girl’ and ‘Punk Confusion’ are the stand out cuts, two-and-half-minutes of fuzzy goodness coming off like Wavves in parts, but with a particularly melodic twist showing a debt to Blue Album Weezer.
After the crowd surfing has subsided they tie their set together in quite a poetic manner, following a cover of Teenage Fanclub’s ‘The Concept’ with ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ by hometown heroes Lit, bringing Glasgow a little closer to southern California.
The hosts of tonight’s party, El Rancho, surveying the mess the next day, declare this “the craziest Tuesday night The Old Hairdressers has ever seen”, it certainly felt like it, here’s hoping the next one comes round the corner soon.
Words: Craig Angus
Photos: Michael Gallacher