An all local line up decked out for Halloween starts with Sharptooth – dressed as destroyed beauty queens – like the cover of Hole’s ‘Live Through This’ – diving headlong into Courtney Love’s ‘Miss World’ at the end of their spiky set.
Secret Motorbikes have come as Kiss – and they throw enough lines from ‘Crazy Crazy Nights’ and ‘God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You’, and strike enough rawk poses to please both sets of Wayne and Garth in the audience.
It’s hard to pay attention when a man dressed as a banana is engaging in some epic crowd surfing, then Cher, Frieda Kahlo and a zombie cheer leader wander by.
Perhaps not the night to hear what the bands would usually sound like, more a chance for a big group of friends and bands to celebrate.
Halfrican temper their bucky-fuelled racket with a segue of ‘Message In A Bottle’ and ‘Can’t Stop Loosing You’; they’re dressed as a ramshackle selection of law enforcement officers.
It all goes a bit Fear and Loathing in Garnethill as a well turned out Raoul Duke (complete with white Chuck Taylor Converse and cigarette holder) appears, closely pursued by an open shirted Dr Gonzo… time to have another drink and dive into the fray.
An unholy mosh pit featuring a Bishop, a Hazmat-suited Walter White and at least one Freddie Mercury supports more crowd surfing bananas and chaos ensues as Black Cop tear through a few indistinct but noisy numbers.
PAWS have come dressed as skeletons (like the teens on their own early artwork).
So far, Philip Taylor has been managing the whole shebang, from sound to crowd control, but now he’s on stage anything can happen.
Not a band to do things by halves, they’re off first thing in the morning to New York to start work on their second LP.
Philip plays a fitting tribute to the late son of that city, Lou Reed, with a heartfelt solo rendition of ‘Perfect Day’, which soon has everyone joining in.
At this stage of the evening it should be a mess, but it’s actually a revelation of the amount of love in the room.
The show turns from ramshackle jam to jubilant party.
There is astonishment from the band as a girl recreating the ‘Coke Float’ album art finds her way into the heart of the action.
Philip invites her to stay and she grooves away behind him, her ponytail wig, tie-dyed t-shirt and spiral glasses are the LP cover come to life.
‘Sore Tummy’ turns into a full-on orgy of grunge, bassist Ryan Drever gets down on his knees, Josh Swiney batters away at the drums and Philip is in full throat as a friend pours shots into his mouth.
The room knows the words to ‘Catherine’ but it will have to be the last song, as the police have been called (for real this time, not the ones with Sting).
At the back of the hall are three pumpkins carved with the tentative title of the forthcoming second album ‘Youth Culture Forever’, encapsulating the vigour, happy catharsis and sheer exuberance of a PAWS live show will be the challenge for that eagerly awaited record.
Words: Lucy Brouwer
Photos: Michael Gallacher