The crowd in The Record Factory are in high spirits for a Sabbath evening, with a jovial 50th birthday party at one end of the long bar and free Sailor Jerry’s tokens being handed out on the way in.
The gig starts out with a local feel, with BABY STRANGE warming up followed by PAWS.
BABY STRANGE is having a formative year, gearing up for a headline tour in October and supports slots for Slaves after that.
‘Trouble’, released on vinyl this summer, is an indie-disco tune with Johnny Madden’s vocals lamenting over thrashing guitars.
PAWS deliver as always, both the raucous punk tunes and the endearing onstage patter; fresh from recording their third album, they preview new tracks from it, including at least one upcoming single.
The influence of new producer Mark Hoppus can be heard, but with a raw live sound and philosophical lyrics the sound has adapted Blink-182 basslines and energy without regressing into teen-angst pop.
There are many familiar tracks in the set tonight too, including ‘An Honest Romance’ and ‘Jellyfish’.
When Bo Ningen arrive, the safe Scottish atmosphere is blown right out of the water.
Touring from Tokyo via a string of British festivals, the Japanese band are exactly the spectacle of rock showbiz the Glasgow scene craves.
The set is a melodic wall of sound from beginning to end, with songs crashing into one another, and the crowd seems stunned into a trance until an uproar of applause when they leave the stage.
Singer and bassist Taigen Kawabe has presence like a performance artist in their own right; long hair swishes around, wrists flick up towards the ceiling, and their bass face looks like an exorcism is being performed through the medium of guitar.
The gig does in fact feel like being inside the soundtrack to an arthouse horror film, as every song is heavy on reverb and soaring electronic effects.
The ‘About’ section on Bo Ningen’s website opens with: “enlightenment activists from far east psychedelic underground”.
Glasgow has been enlightened by Bo Ningen again.
Words: Ellen MacAskill
Photos: Nadia Murdoch