Whoever is looking after Man Of Moon is sitting on a goldmine: on the basis of tonight and previous live outings, they are poised and ready to blow up; they are very special indeed.
An initially reluctant compadre this evening sums it up by leaning in to say, “Whatever ‘it’ is, this band have it. In fucking spades” – that occurs roughly 60 seconds in.
Before we get to the really quite delirious hour of jollies, Beta Waves play a short support set.
Their take on ’80s synth-pop is fine enough and they seem very personable but it’s largely quite anonymous: when the highlight by far is a cover – a chugging Balearic take on ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High’ by Arctic Monkeys – you possibly need to take a look at your own material.
All that is thrown into sharp relief when the duo of Mikey Reid on drums and Chris Bainbridge on guitar and lead vocals take the stage.
From the get-go, they exude confidence and utter self-belief as they thunder into each track.
And a thunderous noise it is: heavy, thumping, hypnotic…but also at times the most delicate of dreamy melodies drifting along the top: the stage takes note of the banging percussion and the backdrop swiftly collapses in the psychedelic lights.
This merely adds to the air of excitement in the busy basement venue: gifting us this performance ahead of setting off on tour with Django Django, the twosome create a real atmosphere; it’s impossible not to be impressed by the total and well-placed belief in their own talent – a real fizz permeates the venue.
Like Beta Waves before, there is a nod to the 1980s – in this case, a slight touch of juddering new wave about some songs – but Man Of Moon really are quite unique: they have a volume and bang that utterly belies the fact there are only two of them, yet a gift for melody that just slides across songs like ‘Sign’.
Swaggering grooves give way to real beauty and as a frontman, Bainbridge knows exactly what he’s doing.
For such a young band, Man Of Moon have mastered the art of space in their music and the gaps when the trippy, repetitive guitar drops out to leave a thumping 4/4 kick drum give us pause for breath
That those gaps also get the arses waggling to the simple joy of someone hitting something with sticks betrays an instinctive understanding of what works: this is highly sophisticated songwriting, solid, muscular and fits their stage presence perfectly.
In some ways, despite being Edinburgh-based, the band onstage personify Glasgow.
There is a dreichness about their music: minor keys with impassive, bruised melodies redolent of a rainy, overcast day, but also a big fat groove underneath, daring you to dance; it’s as if put together to sum up a city in music; emotive, impressive, miserable yet joyous, vicious yet hedonistic.
This band will go very far indeed, they are the real deal.
Words: Vosne Malconsorts
Photos: Brendan Waters