NIEVES, FOREIGNFOX, Courier’s Club at SWG3, 12/8/16

Thanks to getting hopelessly lost, first on the way to SWG3, and then again in the ladies, a Monty Hall-like puzzle, sadistically designed to confuse drunk gig goers, we are almost too late to catch first support act Courier’s Club tonight.

The track and a bit that we do hear sounds promising, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for future chances to give this band some proper attention.

 

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Dunfermline based, alt-rock five-piece FOREIGNFOX are next up, and despite technical problems, combined with a slow to fill venue, their 45-minute set is impressive and indicative of exciting things to come.

As a result of the aforementioned tech issues, it’s virtually impossible to deduce the band’s song titles tonight.

This leads to some confusion over stand out ‘I Used to be a Belly Dancer/ Ballet Dancer/ Elephant’, all of which would be excellent options (Note it’s actually Belly Dancer).

Regardless, the track is a marathon; beginning with a stripped back, controlled vocal and poignant lyrics, before developing into a colossal, roaring crescendo.

New single ‘Bonfire’ is the band’s last track this evening and it sounds massive.

Here, reverb mingles with a vocal descant pitched impressively high above the melody line.

FOREIGNFOX have been carving out quite a name for themselves of late, and based on this performance, it’s easy to see why.

The headliners are looking to do something a bit different with tonight’s choice of venue, accurately describing the gig as ‘an intimate, warehouse show’.

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Prior to their set there’s a bit of a love-in, which sees the NIEVES lads down the front cheering on the support in between chatting to pretty much everyone who walks through the door.

It’s heartening proof that the Glasgow foursome are not only talented, but also top blokes.

Contending with difficult acoustics (the downside to playing a cavernous warehouse) and technical glitches, NIEVES appear unfazed.

Frontman Brendan Dafters and drummer Ross Forsyth waste no time in cheerily ordering the crowd down to the front, and heckling those who are still trying to get away with lurking up the back.

The band kick things off with a brand new track, which I immediately want to listen to on repeat, before launching into their earlier material with previous single release ‘Black Tie’.

Sound continues to be something of a challenge throughout this track, however the inclusion of reworked, unaccompanied vocal sections from Dafters prove an interesting mix-up.

By the time NIEVES move on to ‘The Knot’, taken from their 2015 Matriarch EP, the crowd has fully warmed up, acoustics have improved, and everyone relaxes into a set which sees the band stretch themselves vocally and technically.

Tonight’s show celebrates the launch of new double A-side ‘Roughcast / Dove’.

It’s my first time hearing the tracks live, and most noticeable are the developments and expansion in NIEVES’ trademark style.

Whilst still driven by Herre de Leur’s intricately layered keys and, at times thunderous, percussion from Forsyth, the band have included just a hint of an electronic, atmospheric vibe, which sees Dafters set aside his acoustic guitar in favour of some more high-tech trickery.

‘Broken Oars’, released as a single in March this year, always hits hard and tonight is no exception.

Here, huge bass percussion drives the track, and the venue finally works to NIEVES’ advantage, as booming sound vibrates off the walls of the SWG3 cave.

Combined with Dafters’ most emotional vocal, and an excellent guitar part from Martin Murray, ‘Broken Oars’ is a beautifully painted tale of loss and heartache.

The band announce that the next track will be their “fake last song”, as they weren’t sure if they were going to do an encore or not.

It’s an as yet unnamed, brand new addition to their catalogue, and is a darker, heavier and unrestrained offering, which bodes well for things to come.

NIEVES’ actual last song ‘Empty Book’ has folk singing, swaying and winching left, right and centre.

This is absolute testament to the band, considering that the track is about drug abuse, and is lyrically uncompromisingly grim.

It’s really very difficult to accurately describe a NIEVES gig, as given the brutally dark lyrical content and heart-wrenching technical execution, one would be forgiven for expecting a downbeat and melancholy affair.

The band’s enthusiasm, and evident passion for what they are doing, makes for a far happier event and this is a night of joyful misery pop, if such a thing indeed exists.

More Photos

Words: Kat McNicol
Photos: Cameron Brisbane

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