Tag Archives: Hector Bizerk

Hector Bizerk at The Art School, 14/10/16

It’s hard to put into words what Hector Bizerk have meant to Scottish music, let alone Scottish hip-hop, over the last few years, or at the very least not repeat the haze of kudos the band have been more than deservingly been crowned with.

Over the past five or so years the band has grown from a duo with a hell of a lot of passion and commitment to their craft and bags of talent to boot, to a behemoth of a collective that included not only the musicians themselves, but artists, dancers, film makers and more.

Hector Bizerk has become a full on experience without ever crossing the line to the cheesiness that some who may claim the same never have crossed the other side of, and it’s fitting that tracks from all four full-length releases get an airing in their very last show.

I arrive in time for the bands projected stage time to find them already a good portion through ‘Drums.Rap.Yes’, the opening track from their debut album of the same name, and from the very start the room is buzzing with Louie is bouncing around the stage like a man on a mission, bringing the crowd up from a willing crouch to a huge jump within minutes of the set opening.

Tonight, like many nights before it, Hector Bizerk have their crowd in the palm of their hand and by the time the break neck pace of ‘Bury The Hatchet’ kicks in it’s hard not to be engulfed in the occasion of it all.

There’s a power to the band’s set that allows them dub up the iconic bassline of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’ without ever touching on cringe worthy and as Louie whips up the crowd with “are you ready to take the roof off this gaff Glasgow?” there’s no doubt that everyone in this room is.

The set tonight is split in two, with the opening exchanges seeing tracks from the first two albums, Drums.Rap.Yes. and Nobody Seen Nothing, getting airings in the opening portion and it’s testament to the quality of all of Hector Bizerk’s back catalogue that, although there’s no doubt the band progressed with later releases, these songs stand alone for their quality with tracks like ‘Party At A&E’ and ‘Welcome To Nowhere’ sounding as fresh as they did years ago.

Tonight is a true celebration of what Hector Bizerk and has been to so many people and as ‘Columbus’ closes the first portion of the set in spectacular fashion, keeping the crowd moving with its ska tinged grooves and Louie’s ever impressive machine gun delivery, you feel like you’ve already witnessed something worthy of the entrance fee alone.

The gob smacking intricacy of tracks from soundtrack The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry kick off the second session and act as a relative calm before material from The Second City of the Empire has the floor is physically bouncing underneath your feet as ‘Skin and Bone’ sets the crowd loose once more.

“Glasgow, fuckin’ love you mate” quips Louie before ‘Everybody Laughed’ creates the biggest sing-along of the night and ‘Rust Cohle’ sends the room to higher levels of mental than seen before.

Calling it quits when you’re on a high may seem silly, but for these guys it seems like the right time, and there’s no doubt each member won’t be in high demand whatever their next project will be.

There’s no doubt that Scottish music and certainly Scotish hip hop is in a healthier place than it was when Louie and Audrey took it upon themselves to put some rhymes over drums, but whether someone steps up with the same quality and undeniable work ethic to fill the void they will no doubt leave, it remains to be seen.

As they end it forever on a deserved bow after closing the door forever with ‘The Bigger Picture’ it’s fitting that the last line Hector Bizerk will ever perform is “it’s nothing but hip hop”, but in reality it’s so much more.

Hector Bizerk it’s been a pleasure to have you.


Words: Iain Dawson

Hector Bizerk – The Second City of the Empire

Every now and then a record comes along that makes all the wee hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

If after three weeks, and multiple plays, it’s still having the same effect, then you know it’s something a bit fucking special.

Hector Bizerk’s latest release, The Second City of the Empire is one such record.

The prolific Glasgow hip hop duo has experienced a well-deserved rise in recognition of late, with previous release The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry up for the Scottish Album of the Year Award.

The band also supported The Libertines’ Pete Docherty on his Scottish tour dates last month, by all accounts proving to be the unexpected highlight of an otherwise somewhat disappointing show.

For The Second City of the Empire, the band’s fourth self-release in three years, rapper and frontman Louie and drummer/producer Audrey Tate are joined by an equally talented bunch of musicians to create, in their own words, “hip hop culture with a Scottish edge”.

Early standout ‘Everybody Laughed’ delivers a disturbing narrative of teen sexual experimentation gone tragically wrong.

Set in the context of the current technological landscape, social media’s insidious duplicity is brought to the fore as a snowballing bassline and breakneck vocal hurtle the track towards impending crisis.

If the Scottish Government had any sense they’d make this painfully relevant, cautionary tale a part of the Curriculum for Excellence in secondary schools immediately.

‘Empty Jackets’ is a scathing, if tongue in cheek, indictment of A&R and the industry’s “big three”; featuring a gorgeous calypso chorus vocal courtesy of Be Charlotte, and Louie putting on an amazing, ridiculous London accent, the track is powered by innovative experimental percussion.

In recent weeks I’ve found myself (mostly internally) reciting lyrics “shut the fuck up and have a word with your head-rush” like a modern day mantra.

Demonstrating depth of social conscience and a refusal to shy away from controversial subject matter, ‘The Tree That Never Grew’ is a genuine and brutally honest response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Lush acoustic guitar from the excellent RM Hubbert, and repeated tagline “no human is illegal” are looped around Tait’s omnipresent drums.

Vocally ensnaring the listener with a succession of stark home-truths, Louie’s vocal is both relentless and razor sharp, dripping with barely concealed disdain.

The Second City of the Empire is no-nonsense, clever and undeniably Scottish.

It’s funny, edgy and a just a bit fucked up; descriptors equally well-suited to the city from which it takes its name.

Akin to a good Glasgow night out, it makes you want to laugh, cry, smash something and dance like a fanny.

Hector Bizerk continue to prove that Scottish hip hop is far more than just a faddy novelty, and that the genre deserves recognition as a heavy-weight contender.

Scotland may well be “wrecked and it’s obvious” but on the upside our music scene is looking pretty damn good.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/228223750″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Kat McNicol

Albums of 2015 (10-1)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & EPs

2 Hector Bizerk - The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry10 Hector Bizerk – The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry

If there is one thing Hector Bizerk are always on hand to offer, it is something new and for the Glasgow hip-hop act it perhaps doesn’t get more boundary-pushing than writing the soundtrack for Crazy Jane, a play about a 19th-century Paris mental asylum. But that is exactly what The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is – an undeniably ambitious project, but one which the duo pull off magnificently. Throughout experimental sounds and true-to-form storytelling brilliance of Louie’s lyrics, the album manages to touch upon powerful imagery and serious mental health stigmas – this isn’t just a soundtrack for playing in the background of a stage play, it is a genuine work of art as a standalone album, which has a very clear and deep message. (Jay Henderson)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/219953777″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

10 CARBS - Joyous Material Failure9 CARBS – Joyous Material Failure [Save As]

Not quite a hip-hop record but far from anything else Joyous Material Failure is the creation of Jonnie Common and Jamie Scott released under the moniker CARBS. Consisting of slouchy beats and loose-tongued rapping the album’s subject matters range from Resident Evil, pizza and ice cream as the duo offer an insight into the millennial era by using witty puns that encourage listeners to chuckle though-out. (Jess Lavin)

9 Miaoux Miaoux - School of Velocity8 Miaoux Miaoux – School of Velocity [Chemikal Underground]

A bit disco, a bit techno, and more than a bit joyous electro-pop, Julian Corrie’s School of Velocity is nothing short of an incredible balancing act between simple, pure song writing and soaring, euphoric production. From hooks formed of towering synth stabs to its solid, but playful, underpinning grooves, School of Velocity perhaps surprises most in its impressive lyrical depth and ingenuity – an oft-maligned aspect of contemporary pop. It’s a progression not a revolution for Miaoux Miaoux, but is nonetheless a collection of ten more or less bulletproof tracks. School of Velocity is clever, but honest, and oh-so-easy to love. (Michael Mavor)

8 Poor Frisco - Sheep’s Clothing7 Poor Frisco – Sheep’s Clothing

Poor Frisco hail from East Kilbride, the very same unassuming west of Scotland town that brought us the great Jesus And Mary Chain and these guys are doing a fantastic job of carrying on the noisy pop gauntlet with Sheep’s Clothing. The melodies and harmonies are overtly pop, yet work so well with the interesting and sometimes angular guitar riffs. Sheep’s Clothing has elevated Poor Frisco into real contenders for most exciting band in the city; every track brings something new to the table while maintaining the rough charm that only Poor Frisco can pull off. (Andy McGonigle)

7 Errors - Lease of Life6 Errors – Lease of Life [Rock Action]

Everything from glittering arpeggios to mythical, almost Celtic nuances, each track of Lease of Life is unique, but they all share an ethereal quality. Yet much of what features is reminiscent of 80s new wave, echoing Soft Cell and Depeche Mode. There’s something very solid and secure about each track on this album, making it a truly accomplished piece of art. (Rachel Cunningham)

6 C Duncan - Architect5 C Duncan – Architect [FatCat]

Representing Scotland in the 2015 Mercury Prize, C Duncan brings a surprisingly original, dreamy and warm vision of the country through the bedroom window. Fittingly, Architect feels physically crafted and while the modern indie and pop influences are evident, it is Duncan’s atavism, channeling Palestrina and the choral origins of written western music, that defines his sound and make Architect the most intriguing and incongruous of Scottish releases. (Liam Gingell)

5 Prehistoric Friends - Prehistoric Friends4 Prehistoric Friends – Prehistoric Friends [Yetts Yeti]

Multi-instrumentalist Liam Chapman and violist Nichola Kerr’s self-titled debut album comes with bold choruses, dynamic instrumentals, heartfelt vocals and an overall atmospheric sound. The album, which was released as a limited number of handcrafted fossil plaster casts with a download code hidden inside, is just as unique as the format it was released on. (Jess Lavin)

4 Ela Orleans - Upper Hell3 Ela Orleans – Upper Hell [HB]

Upper Hell saw Orleans temporarily move away from the “movies for ears” tagline and the result is a collection of strong songs that stand together in a coherent structured LP. Upper Hell bounces around in a more confident manner; it’s still slightly cold, but here it’s more ceramic than icy. The cinematic narrative is defined, but the thread linking the songs results in the feeling of watching a high definition version rather than an old 35mm print; highly emotive and highly deserving of the praise it received.

3 Best Girl Athlete - Carve Every Word2 Best Girl Athlete – Carve Every Word [Fit Like]

Katie Buchan, aka Best Girl Athlete, saw her debut album, Carve Every Word, never leave the teenager short of praise. The album itself perfectly shows that, although she is young, Buchan can write powerful and intriguing tracks, which showcase emotional depth both lyrically and musically. Carve Every Word is a beautifully crafted album that can be listened to repeatedly and guarantees success will continue on from 2015.

1 Hudson Mohawke - Lantern1 Hudson Mohawke – Lantern [Warp]

For a record that seems stylistically and tonally to be all about confounding expectations, Lantern fulfills those aspirations and just keeps pushing. With evident influences from Mohawke’s immensely heterogeneous background in the very disparate worlds of EDM and rap production, Lantern is an expertly formed demonstration of invigorating, no holds barred electro-pop… and yet can’t be summarised by that alone. The record as a whole possesses an edge of experimentation and is certainly no stranger to risk in its construction, but still manages to remain astonishingly enjoyable from commencement to conclusion. (Michael Mavor)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & EPs

EPs of 2015 (10-1)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & albums

10 Turtle - Push10 Turtle – Push

Jon Cooper aka Turtle’s EP Push is titled as ambiguously as the music that inhabits it. It’s clean, but somehow gritty, it’s beautifully mixed and it happens to be just a great show on how to write ambient electronic music. ‘The River’ sounds like it should be accompanied by big waterfalls and David Attenborough’s voice, and there is no circumstance where this would be the result of music, which is anything other than enchanting. (Greg Murray)

9 Bella and the Bear - A Girl Called Bella9 Bella and the Bear – A Girl Called Bella

The second official EP from Ayr-based duo Bella and the Bear saw them return with a fresh outlook and a compelling sound. Their traditional acoustic sound offers immensely intricate and beautiful lyrics paired with engaging rhythmic guitar and powerful, while their Scottish roots are portrayed proudly through spoken word, which creates a rougher edge to the EP. There is a timeless feel to A Girl Called Bella, a sense of wonder and excitement paired with quiet melancholy; a rare find.

8 Sweaty Palms - Hollywood Wax8 Sweaty Palms – Hollywood Wax [FUZZKILL]

Hollywood Wax is a dark yet jaunty garage tinged tape that captures your attention and slowly grows til you’re hooked. Sweaty Palms draw from a host of styles, but have successfully managed to corner their own as Robbie Houston’s snarled vocals possess an unrelenting garage energy that combines with the band’s eerie hypnotic power, while a touch of joviality means they’re rightfully labeled ones to watch.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/131758826″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

4 Tuff Love - Dross7 Tuff Love – Dregs [Lost Map]

The first of two Tuff Love EPs, Dregs is an easy listening pop filled record with subtle undertones. Tuff Love describe their sound as “aggressively melodic” and over five tracks the listener is transported to a softer world filled with light drum and guitar beats mixed together with the duo’s soft harmonies. Following on from other EPs Junk and Dross, Dregs welcomes the idea of upbeat and infectiously catchy songs, mesmerising lyrics and gentle vocals, perfect that these songs now all feature on a full-length. (Lorne Gillies)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/161294915″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

6 Outblinker - Pink:Blue6 Outblinker – Pink/Blue [Good Grief/GabuAsso]

Outblinker’s first offering was delivered in the form of a two track EP that really packs a punch. The quintet combine crunching riffs alongside mesmerising synth into a 23-minute experience that you won’t forgot in a hurry. ‘Pink’ eases the listener in before unleashing a cathartic cacophony of battling sounds and timbres, whereas ‘Blue’, with its eerie tones and hypnotic synth, offers a more cinematic approach. (Jess Lavin)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/116746788″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

5 Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - DILF_77 Would Like To Chat5 Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – DILF_77 Would Like To Chat [Chemikal Underground]

Dilf_77 Would Like To Chat immediately dances into life and it’s a real change from Moffat and Wells’ usual bleak affair. Wells lays down a disco arrangement that just screams Nile Rogers alongside Moffat’s trademark bloke-ish vocals. Moffat described these tracks as “too unique” and “too cheery” to be included on a full album, and he’s not wrong, but you don’t miss the bleak bluntness that defines this partnership. This EP stands alone giving a glimpse into a sanguine side of the duo seldom seen.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/224291905″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

7 Tuff Love - Dregs4 Tuff Love – Dross [Lost Map]

It’s no surprise Tuff Love feature twice here with tunes packed with disjointed instrumentals, fuzzy thrills and distorted melodies Tuff Love are no strangers to the DIY ethic, the two-piece always manage to capture their raw and unpolished vibe without ever sounding shambolic – Dross being no exception. The EP perfectly captures the essence of the band’s tight live performance showcasing Julie Eisenstein and Suse Bear’s velvety vocals as they create stunning harmonies that soar over expertly plucked strings. (Jess Lavin)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/171036679″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

1 Hector Bizerk - The Bell That Never Rang3 Hector Bizerk – The Bell That Never Rang

Hot on the heels of 2014’s sister EPs, The Bell That Never Rang  further cements Hector Bizerk’s reputation as the Scottish purveyors of rhythmic exploration and the honest and grim truth. While they have been developing this style for a few years, ‘Skin & Bone’ marks an evolutionary step as they adopt a pop chorus, while on ‘Rust Cohle’ Louie’s words are more biting and on target than ever. These EP’s have proven their ability; it is only a matter of time until a full-length album achieves the same effect. (Liam Gingell)

2 The Van T’s - Laguna Babe2 The Van T’s – Laguna Babe [Bloc+]

Laguna Babe is just a tremendous EP from the Van Thompson twins. There’s a real grunge attitude that underpins the new sound of the band, somewhat of a leap from the acoustic stuff of a couple of years ago. It seems after the musical journey they’ve been on they’ve arrived at the type of Pixies-esque tunes they were always destined to create. ‘Growler’ is an incredible opener that will hook you enough to ensure you cannot pull away from the rest of the EP and, as a whole, it is just a right good record. Last year was a great year for The Van T’s, but all the evidence suggests 2016 could be even better. (Jay Henderson)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/161345503″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

3 Dune Witch Trails - Waving At Airports1 Dune Witch Trails – Waving At Airports

Waving at Airports sets the scene perfectly for Dune Witch Trails to continue their ascendancy within the thriving landscape of Glasgow and beyond. It almost sounds a bit like a grittier sounding Japandroids – even typing that made me smile at the thought. There aren’t many bands that could pack so much feeling and so many sounds into less than 10 minutes, but Dune Witch Trails manage to do just that. Each song is just the right length to showcase many great ideas without ever becoming tedious, helping make Waving At Airports our number one EP of last year. (Andy McGonigle)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & albums

Tracks of 2015 (10-1)

30-21  –  20-11  –  10-1  –  EPs & albums

10 Martha Ffion - No Applause10 Martha Ffion – No Applause [Lost Map]

Offering a sweeter take on 60s rock Martha Ffion has managed to grab a lot of attention this year since we first caught her support Jessica Pratt in April. Blending lo-fi fuzz guitar, sleek vocals and poetic lyricism ‘No Applause’ offers the both raw edge and maturity some acts have spent years trying to perfect. From this single alone it is clear why Ffion’s originality has received so much praise during preceding months. She also filled in for Sugarhill Gang at Wickerman; quite the year. (Jess Lavin)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207018341″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

9 Halfrican - Life Is Hard9 Halfrican – Life Is Hard [El Rancho]

Halfrican, the band that were best known for their matching shorts and mixing together fuzz, garage and 60s pop released their first official single ‘Life is Hard’ during the summer. Halfrican’s powerhouse guitar pop really packs a punch and forces the listener to give it their full attention, whereas the track’s surf-rock twang adds further depth to keep you interested. (Jess Lavin)

8 Le Thug - Basketball Land8 Le Thug – Basketball Land [Song, by Toad]

The elusive Le Thug re-emerged at the start of the year with their first formal release on Song, By Toad Records, though each of the 6 tracks on the EP is just as mesmerising as the one before, ‘Basketball Land’ is a clear standout as it really showcases Clio’s enchanting vocals, which match beautifully with the mix of pulsing drones and electronic flourishes. The track has a real dreamlike quality and is both extremely gripping and powerful without being forceful – never begging for your attention, but capable of engrossing you in its sound. (Jess Lavin)

7 The Van T’s - Growler7 The Van T’s – Growler [Bloc+]

In the summer of 2013 I caught an acoustic folk duo by the name of The Van T’s at the ABC – little did I know that by the end of 2015, they’d be amongst my favourite current Scottish bands. Nor did I realise the acoustic folk patter would be patched in favour of an incredible, raucous rock reminiscent of the likes of the Pixies and the Raveonettes. ‘Growler’ is perhaps the seminal moment of what has been a fantastic year for the Van Thompson twins – a ferocious track that perfectly purveys The Van T’s sound though its outstanding riffs and atmospheric lyrics. It’s an unstoppable force of a song that rightly deserves a place in any end-of-year list and reinforces the inarguable fact that the duo will be well worth watching in 2016 and beyond. (Jay Henderson)

6 Miaoux Miaoux - Luxury Discovery6 Miaoux Miaoux – Luxury Discovery [Chemikal Underground]

An unapologetically-catchy, impossible-not-to-dance-to electro-pop track that exists as the crowning glory of an album that will likely be reflected upon as one of Scotland’s finest of 2015. Put simply: you’d have to try really hard to not love it, and even harder to forcibly extract it from your brain. (Michael Maver)

5 WOMPS - Live A Little Less5 WOMPS – Live A Little Less [Damnably]

We have been covering the output of Ewan Grant for a long time at Rave Child, and the truly pleasant chap seems to finally be getting his deserved credit. Rising from the ashes of noisy and productive rockers, Algernon Doll, WOMPS have had an excellent first year playing shows across the globe and recording their debut single ‘Live A Little Less’ with garage production legend Steve Albini. The single has gone on to receive a vast amount of praise and it’s clear why as it perfectly mixes fuzzy, turbulent garage with meaningful lyrics and melodic harmonies. The duo seems to have found their road and is now hitting it at full pelt; expect big things from them in 2016. (Jess Lavin)

4 Kathryn Joseph - The Bird4 Kathryn Joseph – The Bird [Hits The Fan]

‘The Bird’ is a perfect example of how strong indie-folk can be – and not just in Scotland.  Kathryn Joseph is without doubt one of the diamonds among the plethora of unconvincing, pseudo-emotional acoustic-y acts that have been badly waltzing around the internet hay barn since Justin Vernon brilliantly set the pace with Bon Iver in 2008, and she does so in a way that gently reminds us all that art needn’t (or maybe shouldn’t) be a forced experience. Mixing metaphors aside, ‘The Bird’ blends familiar and melancholic piano tones with uniquely compelling rasped vocals to hugely emotional effect, and is a must listen. It helped her win a SAY award, too. (Greg Murray)

3 TeenCanteen - Sister3 TeenCanteen – Sister

TeenCanteen’s ‘Sister’ is captivating, it showcases the band’s ability to come out with a fighting spirit through an intense and driven sound. In 2015, the band also raised £3456.72 for Scottish Woman’s Aid at their ‘Girl Affect’ event, therefore it is easy to see that last year has been a successful year for the girls. They have much to be proud of from it, and ‘Sister’ can definitely be considered a highlight.

2 Best Girl Athlete - Seven Seconds2 Best Girl Athlete – Seven Seconds [Fit Like]

2015 was a pivotal year for the precociously talented Best Girl Athlete with a string of both local and far-flung gigs including a tour of North America, and the release of her album, Carve Every Word, which received an overwhelmingly positive critical response. ‘Seven Seconds’ is a highlight of the record, with its charming combination of upbeat pop, lyrics written with a twist of melancholy, and a lifted final section that catches the listener off guard. (Ellen Renton)

1 Hector Bizerk - Rust Cohle1 Hector Bizerk – Rust Cohle

In a year where Hector Bizerk were prolific as ever it was this number that shaded their almost as wonderful ‘They Made a Porno On A Mobile Phone & Everybody Laughed’ featuring Pronto Mama’s Marc Rooney. While the fanbase and the seaming mutual adoration between the two groups drove that track pretty far, it was the sheer sneery, hook of a sing-along of ‘Rust Cohle’ that made it the true standout in another successful year from Scotland’s best hip-hop act. The track named after Matthew McConaughey’s character in last year’s, equally as gripping, season of HBO drama True Detective, is darker than a lot of Hector’s previous material as an Americana guitar riff gives way to sharp synths, while Louie’s couplets are as well thought out as ever. Absolute beast of a track live too!

30-21  –  20-11  –  10-1  –  EPs & albums

Scottish Alternative Music Awards at The Garage, 8/10/15

After three successful showcases the sixth SAMAs main event is finally here with a line up full of past winners and current nominees.
We Came From Wolves open up the night with a mix of new and old songs from their album and previous EP.

As the warm up act for tonight they go down well with plenty of attendees focusing their attention on the soon to be ‘Best Rock Act’.
They give a good show and look genuinely proud to be playing tonight.

Crash Club know how to completely take over a venue and cause an uproar of elation and madness.

Electro and rock, they bring a euphoric and psychedelic twist to tonight’s line up, they bring the rooms vibe to a whole new level with everyone dancing to the never stopping beats and prominent guitars that work so well with each other.

Tonight they don’t have any guest vocalists, it may have added something extra, but generally Crash Club once again are able to perform an ecstatic performance with some of the best lightning of the night.

They happen to win ‘Best Electric Act’ after being nominated two years in a row.

Last years ‘Best Hip Hop’ winners, and oddly not nominated for that or ‘Best Live’ this year, Hector Bizerk have the pleasure of closing proceedings.

What a year they have had thinking back to March 2014 when frontman Louie claimed their award with a memorable rap that people still go on about.

Like Crash Club they are experts at hyping a crowd up; both band and audience aren’t holding back with even a giant Hector flag waving about.

Fan favourite ‘Party in A&E’ is played with some excellent drumming from Audrey Tait.

Marc Rooney of Pronto Mama makes an appearing later on in the set and provides the vocals for new song ‘They Made A Porno On a Mobile Phone and Everybody Laughed’ that goes down brilliantly with an exhilarated crowd.

Another successful year for the SAMAs, some well deserved winners, and some that we maybe don’t agree with, but we’ll chalk that down to personal opinion for the time being.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/228223750″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Olivia Campbell

Electric Fields, 29/8/15

The journey down to Electric Fields begins post 9am and a ‘Happy Bus’ from Buchanan Bus Station; how anyone can muster up the energy to be “happy” at this time in the morning is beyond me and the atmosphere on the bus is as you’d expect from bed missing music lovers with not to many getting mad for it from the off.

Arriving a good portion of time before the gates are officially opened, even after a lengthy toilet stop, you can’t help but feeling an extra hour in bed could have happened and with the promise of showers and the potential of thunder and lightning forecast it’s going to take that first beer to get things into gear.

Once in the queue things start to spark up, as the guys on the gates seem full of optimism and banter and waste no time jumping up the line to check bags in advance, speeding up entry.

Once we’re in a look at the fact that tokens that need to be purchased separately to exchange for drinks brings back horrific memories of queuing all day; but a cheeky six tokens for £20 offer, the beer being Innes & Gunn by the (cold) can and not the usual warm watered down piss you’d find at any other festival offering a similar policy, a lanyard for a sole quid and that the festival isn’t quite large enough, or it’s prepared well enough, to not have any queues of note leaves these initial quibbles at the gate.

The set up of Electric Fields is intriguing with the two main stages titled Carse Valley, a bizarre blow up effort, and The Arc sitting right next to each other in order maximise the amount of bands that can play, while the smaller To Lose La Trek uses the same music friendly set up of the larger ones in system used at a bigger scale in forward thinking international festivals like Primavera Sound.

FOREIGNFOX

I begin my day down at The Arc for Dunfermline’s brilliant FOREIGNFOX, who deliver a set full of storming indie rock with soaring hooks fronted by Jonny Watt’s distinctive Scottish twang that powers above the bold instrumentals.

Watt could be found later wandering around steaming firing a ravechild tote bag over folk’s head and other things, but more on that later; his band touch on the poppier side of post rock and the indulgent side of indie, but the crowd that have arrived on site early are won over confidently down at a side of the field that could have done with a few less tractors running over it, something I’ll learn more first hand later on (yeah I decked it!).

On the other side of the field is The Skinny Tent, and here we find the stage that boasts the best sound of the day, as the tent seems set up to perfection to host an array of loud, danceable and fun acts from Scotland and afar.

My first venture here is for Glasgow krautrock touting psycsters OUTBLINKER, who look a much more conventional band on a large stage than when they were crammed into The Hug and Pint’s tiny basement a few months ago, and it seems they take to the bigger space with ease despite its light and airy feel and green house-like qualities.

OUTBLINKER do generally need time to grow into a set and with only half an hour to play with they have to speed up this process; they do this to perfection building from swirling noise before a monster riff kicks in and they smash the possibilities wide open.

Technically this band is gobsmacking, and they’re driven by tight and emphatic rhythms from a drummer who delivers with real attention grabbing purpose.

They do enter a heavily distorted mid section that seems to build for a bit too long, but OUTBLINKER are still maybe a bit short on material, give then time and this could be one of the best live experiences you’ll get.

Randolphs Leap

Back over at The Arc we get our twee dose of the day (sorry guys), and the sun is out as Randolph’s Leap produce a set of infectious, brass enthused indie pop joy.

It’s endearing, uplifting stuff full of charming rhymes that really shouldn’t work; it’s the ideal sound to take a seat and relax to, shame the floor’s too wet.

Early afternoon and those promised showers seem an age away, and as singer Adam Ross expresses his regret for wearing a jacket someone for the audience shouts “take it off”, to which he obliges as the brass section provide obligatory strip tease music and the quip of the day comes in the form of “look out ladies he’s down to his woolly jumper”.

Pronto Mama

The big clash of the day comes at 2pm as enchanting indie rockers Catholic Action take to The Skinny Tent at the same time as the pop filled fun of Pronto Mama take to the inflatable Carse Valley stage; I go for the later due to the sunshine and an impatience waiting for The Skinny tent to get set up and I’m not let down as I’m met with a live sound that is just as engrossing as their records.

Pronto Mama’s sound is full of soul and comes with an enabling touch of brass and plenty of cheeky funk that sets a grove while withstanding becoming cheesy.

Pronto Mama impressively walk a slippery path with a sound that could so easily fall into the pitfalls of becoming like so many bland Scottish folk acts or go the other way turn into unabashed naff ska, instead they come out with something truly infectious and original in the early afternoon sun.

Their set is warm and engaging and as Hector Bizerk’s Louie stresses to me “they’re the most underrated band in Scotland,” I’m inclined to agree.

The Van Ts

A late addition to the line up in replacement for the ill KLOE, The Van T’s get the opportunity to thrive in the sunshine and thrive they do; their set is full of pure good times surf enthused garage rock that oozes rock’n’roll energy in a truly infectious manner.

The Thompson twin’s harmonies sparkle in the open air and there’s no denying they look cool as anyone on today’s bill; a more than adequate replacement for KLOE’s soaring pop.

Fat Goth

As The Van T’s finish you can hear the sheer power of Fat Goth from across the field as they take to The Skinny Tent and once I arrive in the tent they capture me instantly with their sneery, distressed and devastatingly loud performance.

It’s impressive stuff from the Dundee trio who produce a frantic display that acts as welcome escape from the sunshine soaked pop vibes outside.

They tear through classic metal sounding riffs with pounding rhythms and an addictive quality that is difficult to match.

Another blinding set from one of the best named bands in Scotland; throw in a bottle of Buckie and some incredible drummer faces and you’ve got one of the most emphatic sets of the day.

United Fruit

Following Fat Goth at The Skinny Tent isn’t an enviable task, but United Fruit are more than equipped to do so and release another ball of fury into the immaculate sounding tent.

United Fruit unleash another powerful set that has become typical of their intense live show; on record Iskandar Stewart’s occasionally touch on whiney, but live they’re strong, sneered chants that drive impressively over a pulverising instrumental assault.

Following them, on the same stage, I get to cover Happy Meals for the second time in just over a week and the duo produce a set that blows away their understated late afternoon appearance at Doune the Rabbit Hole the week before.

Shrouded in smoke they produce an indulgent set of lush organic synths that cruise beautifully into a tent that’s just starting to get its feet moving.

Towards the end of the set Suzi Rodden jumps into the crowd and prances about while partaking in some crazed dancing, all while delivering her endlessly adorable French vocals, while Lewis Cook adds the synths from the stage, creating a tent filling brilliance.

It’s pure indulgent fun from a band that seem to be pulling it all out the bag, except the compulsory toy you get with their namesake of course.

Indeed, the one let down of the festival is you struggle to find anything better than a Happy Meal to eat; the four vans only seem to cater for mediocre fast foods and veggie options which don’t expand much further than toasties, but still this is a festival in its infancy, the good food will come; next year please!

Miaoux Miaoux

Bumping into a few folk I only manage to catch Miaoux Miaoux from afar, still their infectious synth tones and stick in your head vocal hooks seem to spark through the festival site contagiously and start the evening portion of the festival with a dance as the potential for beer weariness rears its ugly head.

The Twilight Sad

Over at The Skinny Tent and it’s the turn of the secret guests, who the festival had revealed to anyone who had guessed from a rather creative image as The Twilight Sad earlier in the week.

In fact it’s just James and Andy producing a stripped back set, which on paper should showcase the raw emotion that comes across in James Graham’s powerful delivery; sadly although captivating in moments, it doesn’t quite hold the same effect without a blasting wall of sound behind it.

Still, for some ultra fans, including FOREIGNFOX’s Jonny Watt who exclaims he would “suck everyone of their dicks”, the set goes down a storm and there’s a humour rarely seen on stage from Graham stating “I wish Erasure were playing, it’d be much better than this miserable shit,” while exchanging chat with the crowd.

Over at Carse Valley Golden Teacher suffer an out of place set in early evening daylight; last week at Doune they set the place alight in the early hours of the morning, but playing a more restrained set at a more restrained hour doesn’t seem to suit them.

Although musically they are solid as ever, with on touch disco tingling beats, plenty of experimental flourishes and quirky dance moves that keep things interesting, it never really lifts beyond that; if this is your first experience of GT live don’t take it by the book, go check them out when they hit their stride best; in a post midnight slot when everyone has their dancing shoes on.

PAWS

Following the festival I had a slight misunderstanding with PAWS regarding a word being taken out of context, still that was quickly ironed out and their set begins over at The Arc with drummer, Josh’s stool breaking and what appears to be some jovial chat about it.

I later learn this to be more dangerous than I’d imaged and in hindsight it seems to take some of the drive out of a band that is usually a formidable live prospect, regardless they deliver the same infectious pop punk glory as ever, but seem to take a while to settle, while the sound being a touch quieter than you’d expect and the rather static audience do them no favours.

PAWS are best enjoyed at full pace and full volume, with that full on urgency that the trio have come to embody and install in their crowds; still, regardless of any grievances the set is still plenty of fun and a great way to spend the remainder of the disappearing daylight.

Hector Bizerk1

Back over at Carse Valley it’s the turn of potentially the most exciting act on the bill; Hector Bizerk start on a somewhat sombre tone, not that that’s a bad thing, still it’s one of those calm before storm things as before long, Louie, hood up and unphased, blasts into an all out lyrical assault.

This is a band at the top of their game, as Louie takes the crowd under his command and the band plough forward with precision and impressive zeal.

There’s another airing of their ‘Song 2’ cover, which Louie adds a touch of freestyle brilliance to before tracks like ‘Rust Cohle’ and ‘Columbus’ blow everything out the water; extraordinary stuff that only seems to be getting better.

Hearing The Xcerts from afar is more than enough, but thankfully Jonnie Common is taking the stage just over at the smaller To Lose La Trek, a stage I have wandered over to a couple of times, but have not had the chance to see a full set at due to distractions elsewhere.

Common is a far fly away from the painful sound at the main stage, and delivers a brilliantly cheeky performance in his own addictive sort of way.

His set is full of dry humour, clever synths and plenty of ‘give a fuck’ attitude and the healthy crowd seem to give his set that extra kick.

Common’s CARBS bandmate Jamie, aka MC ALMOND MILK, joins him for a few songs later on, showcasing some of his solo material in Common produced ‘How2B Cool in 2014’ as well as CARBS standout ‘Stick A Flake In Me (I’m Done)’, and it’s more addictive stuff, in a very geeky Scottish sort of way; this could be the most fun set of the day.

The Phantom Band

Back over at Carse Valley and The Phantom Band produce a barnstorming performance full of shiver inducing builds and Rick Anthony’s deep, velvety delivery; I’ve jokingly labelled these guys The Phantom Bland before now, but on this showing that label can go in the bin, The Phantom Grand it is then!

King Creosote

The beers have kicked and the long day is taking effect by the time headliner King Creosote takes to The Arc stage, but the singer seems to be in joyous spirits delivering a set choked with a warming beauty that emulates most of his back catalogue and more specifically last year’s standalone From Scotland With Love LP.

There’s no doubting he’s the stand out name on a bill crammed with emerging Scottish talent, the line up is nearly all Scottish barring a few exceptions in The Skinny Tent, but maybe seeing him in the sobering daylight might have been a more uplifting experience, but for those with more stamina, or maybe more time in their bed, than myself this should feel like the perfect end to one of Scotland’s most exciting upcoming festivals.

More Photos

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/163992623″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

Hector Bizerk – The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry

Hector Bizerk has went from strength to strength in the last year; their unique blend of thought provoking lyrics, interesting percussion and Louie’s acerbic Glaswegian twang make for a very unique listen indeed.

The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is written as a complimentary soundtrack to the play ‘Crazy Jane’, which depicts a harrowing tale of a mentally ill can-can dancer in Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paris.

A huge undertaking for Hector Bizerk, but one that they pull off with complete flair.

Opening track ‘Overture For Jane’ takes us straight into completely new territory, an instrumental track of huge proportions was hardly the intro many expected from Glasgow’s foremost hip-hop act.

The track has an almost theatrical quaintness that shows a real attention to detail and references the play well; it slips seamlessly into the title track, which sees the first introduction of Louie’s unique vocal style.

Again the instrumentation is what really stands out, some carefully measured percussion from Audrey Tait and a tasteful quiet guitar provide the perfect backdrop for Louie’s lyrics about struggling through and trying to resist the pressures of life; light hearted stuff eh?

‘Dr Charcot’ is one of the most unique songs on the album; cleverly Hector have chosen to describe different characters from the play with their own song, ‘Dr Charcot’ being one of the most interesting; the sneering chorus almost sees Louie channeling his version of the character fantastically.

Again its instrumentation differs entirely from previous tracks, but works extremely well in the context; it seems as though Hector Bizerk can do no wrong at the moment.

‘Welcome to the Nuthouse’ is one of the most thought provoking tracks on the album.

Lyrically it describes the view of someone taking a tour of the asylum and conjures up some fantastic images throughout.

Hector Bizerk has a real talent of letting the lyrics take the foreground, whilst keeping the music interesting.

It touches on modern society’s view on mental illness and the voyeurism sometimes displayed towards it – that concludes todays entertainment/ I trust you have enjoyed yourself.

The way that Hector Bizerk has used this record as a vehicle to openly talk about the struggles of mental illness is extremely admirable.

The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is an absolute masterclass in storytelling and musical profiency.

Audrey Tait’s production and musicianship combine with Louie’s storytelling so well.

At first glance, basing the record on a play was a huge undertaking for the band, but one they pull off effortlessly.

Not only is this such an enjoyable and varied listen, the album also highlights such important issues in modern day society.

The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is a triumph of epic proportions.

Words: Andy McGonigle

T in the Park 2015 (Friday)

Leaving perhaps too early, in an eager attempt not to miss some of the sparkling bands that are opening stages, we find ourselves at the site a good two hours before anyone is set to take any stage.

The drive up is fairly comfortable, taking no longer than a straight 75-minutes, after the daily Greggs breakfast stop off.

However, actually finding the entrance to the site once parked up wasn’t so easy; a lack of signs pointing to day entrance and camping entrance have a host of people confused, and while there are three people telling you how to park your car, the closer you get to the festival site the rarer the people to acquire directions; regardless, after a few misdirections, we find the media accreditation tent, get our passes and are escorted by a few familiar faces across the festival site to the media area.

Walking through the site, it’s noticeably smaller than before; obviously a pleasure for our legs, but would this cause potential sound overflows or a lot of congestion? We wouldn’t know til later.

After a glance at the full bill I had myself penciled in for never visiting the Main Stage during the entire festival, however after chatting at the media bit, I bump into a few folk am taken there first thing for the first band to grace T in the Park at Strathallan – Prides.

Admittedly I’ve never been a fan; their mainstream teasing brand of electronic indie always felt a touch of beige side, regardless the band pour a lot of energy into their set and please a lot of early comers.

Leaving a couple of songs in I wander over to the King Tut’s Tent to catch a bit of darling indie folk singer-songwriter Lucy Rose and am charmed to drift in to cover of Taylor Swift belter ‘Bad Blood’.

Rose’s sweet sound is a nice way to start proceedings, the set is filled with hovering synths, clap-along intros and sultry vocals and acts as a delightful start to a festival, which would see some soaring highs and some major lulls.

Opening up Transmission (which would become BBC Introducing for the other two days) are The Beaches, and after and after a quick glance at their stuff prior to the festival they were definitely one’s I had pegged to see.

The Toronto girls draw a reasonable crowd for their early slot, admittedly there are a few sneery looking guys seemingly only here to ogle the girls, but that aside the four-piece blast through a fun filled set of fem rock dressed like they’re just heading on court at Wimbledon.

Dirty synths and pop hooks combine at great volume and are delivered with a real swagger, which surely means these girls have more balls than the barrage of soppy indie boy bands that feature on this stage for the most of the day.

Back at Tut’s and The Twilight Sad are about to come on; I’d gone through a phase where they ceased to excite me, but after a return to form with last year’s album and the memories of some truly engrossing and emphatic live shows I’m encouraged that they might be able to blast our ears off early doors at T.

However, despite James Graham’s lost in the moment, gesturing and their powerful atmospherics, there’s something missing from there set; volume.

Yes, this is potentially the quietest set The Twilight Sad have ever played, and you get the feeling it’s not by choice; still a show at the Barras later in the year should draw both a bigger crowd and more of a return to form.

Another act scheduled to play the Barras later in the year is over at the Radio 1 Stage, but Fuse ODG is a different prospect altogether and it seems fitting that the sun rises over T in the Park for the first time during his fun-filled, Afro enthused pop set.

Yeah it’s chart friendly stuff, but it’s filled with joy, addictiveness and good (terrible) banter, as the chirpy singer revels in leading the biggest crowd I’ve witnessed yet in massive sing-alongs of tracks like ‘Million Pound Girl’ and ‘Antenna’.

It’s all positive vibes in these early days, before the more rowdy acts come on and the alcohol starts to take full effect, so Fuse goes down a treat; a massive dance-along to ‘Dangerous Love’ is enough to plaster a smile on your face as the sun retreats behind the clouds again.

The centre piece of the day comes back in the Tut’s tent and starts with the enthralling Jessie Ware, the sound is blasting to much higher level than it was earlier in the day as the bass reverberates through the huge tent to the sonic daze of ‘Champagne Kisses’.

Ware’s soulful hooks come across clear as she struts the stage commanding the growing crowd with her engulfing presence.

Indeed after going a while without listening to Ware’s music I’m pleasantly surprised how familiar and fresh it all sounds; the lush vibes of ‘Tough Love’ wash over the crowd, while the powerful and pounding ballad ‘Wildest Moments’ brings to an end potentially the most sonically impressive show of the entire weekend.

A wee catch up with some friends finds me, to my dismay, back at the Main Stage where Hozier are being incredibly dull and seem to be stealing Proclaimers intros; whether Gorgon City or Duke Dumont would have been better choices is questionable, still the latter has managed to fill the 20 000 capacity Tut’s Tent as I wander back to the media arena to get a wee beverage in before Hot Chip.

They bring a power of a crowd too, and deservedly so, they’re one of the most consistently good bands of the last decade and delivery another fun filled set, which unfortunately for the second time in this year doesn’t feature standout ‘Boy From School’.

Still, the set is wall-to-wall classics and full of fun sing-alongs and plenty of cowbell, more than keeping the beat flowing, after Duke Dumont had the tent in an almost sauna like sweat box state.

Regardless of how great the set is the crowd, who have come in there masses, never seem to hit their stride, indeed I overhear a punter behind me state: “Am I missing something? This is bangin’, why’s it not mental?”

This comes immediately before the moment most of the crowd are waiting for, ‘Over and Over’, indeed their most popular track goes down a treat as the crowd give their first attempt at that hideous chant (you know the one) that has become synonymous with this festival.

One of the highlights of the festival comes at the end of their set as they cruise into their wondrously ceiling gazing, sing-along cover of Springsteen classic ‘Dancing In The Dark’, which has the group I’m with buzzing; however a glance round the tent shows a lot of blank faces, and as the band move into a bit of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All My Friends’ it becomes increasingly apparent how young and lacking a musical education most the crowd here actually are.

Back over at Radio 1 and The War On Drugs is about take the stage, somewhat bizarrely sandwiched between Afrojack and David Guetta and the crowd is pretty sparse for an act going on second last at the festival’s second stage.

Regardless Adam Granduciel and co. manage to captivate the small crowd for an extended period with, despite a battered looking jacket and seemingly having ages ten years since the last time I saw him; it’s hard to describe Granduciel’s voice without the obvious Dylan reference, but so intense and formidable are his songs that this isn’t their defining feature.

Still, this is in no way the best place to see this band; the masses at T don’t seem to know who Springsteen is, so why would they come see a former member of Kurt Vile’s band play when they have Fat Boy Slim, being old in a completely different way, or the world’s most depressing pop star… ever, Sam Smith, to chose from; even if their last album was one of the best of last year.

People just don’t seem to be interested, and Granduciel seems either oblivious to or completely ignoring the fact that his band stick out something awful on this bill, and as the set gets closer to the end the crowd starts to fill up with those awaiting Guetta, who seem frustrated by the lack of generic start/stop chart wielding dance tunes; Sia’s not even going to be there… Jeez!

I end my day back at the Transmission Stage and for what has the potential to be one of the best sets of the weekend and Hector Bizerk don’t let down.

Louie struts the stage like a man possessed, spilling out non giving rhymes before sneering “Scotland how’re you doin’?” to a crowd that is on every beat; it’s not totally rammed and the sound could be a whole lot better, but that’s what we’ve come to expect when good band’s play T.

Indeed, there’s a casual cheeky swagger in the bucket hat sporting MC as he cuts up the stage giving it a confident “ready T?” before bursting into old number ‘Bury The Hatchet’.

Hector have become a full blown experience since the duo seemingly blew Scottish hip-hop wide open with a huge amount of hard work and 2012’s excellent Drums. Rap. Yes..

Now they play with a full band, yet Audrey Tait’s ever present drumming still stands out as the driving force of the full on Hector assault, except when she takes acoustic guitar duties later on sporting one of the most amusing t-shirt’s you’ll see all weekend.

‘Festival Boy’ predictably goes down a treat, as does much of the set, which includes a rousing chant along to ‘Rust Cohle’, some powerful freesystling that references choosing them before Kasabian and Guetta and all out fun cover of Blur’s ‘Song 2’.

Tonight Hector absolutely killed it; they’ve gone and booted in out the park; ladies and gentlemen the T is o’er the fence!

SaturdaySunday

More Photos

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/191018962″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Bill Gray

Hector Bizerk, Pronto Mama, Bella and the Bear at Tut’s, 6/6/15

For reasons that more or less amount to me not being competent enough to find a working cash machine near King Tut’s, I miss a lot of Bella and The Bear’s opening set, but it’s clear when I eventually arrive at the venue that the already bustling crowd adore what they’re being treated to: an acoustic boy/girl duo with a guest saxophonist for some additional textures.

With their excellent voices and well-rounded, folky song writing, I hear enough in the first few seconds of being there to confirm that I should kick myself for not being present from the beginning.

Their soulful alt-rock bellows in a totally different way to the openers, but on some levels there are similarities and Pronto Mama do well to convince the audience that they’re the perfect fit for the middle of this evening’s line-up.

They crash through their set with barrels of drive courtesy of drummer, Martin Johnston, and swagger with the confidence of an experienced band that are effortlessly tight.

‘You’re Only Human’ from, ravechild’s number 1 E.P of 2014, Niche Market, encapsulates Pronto Mama’s composition skills, particularly in the mathy breakdown, which keeps on the right side of the thin line between sounding amazing and fucking with time signatures just for the sake of fucking with time signatures.

Bella and the Bear and Pronto Mama are both exceptional, but when Hector Bizerk swirl onto the stage to the sound of an old-timey waltz, they make it absolutely clear why they’re the headliners.

Audrey Tait begins a new song on acoustic guitar and vocals whilst Louie hangs his head in silence, waiting as the song chugs along, ratcheting up the tension.

I’ll admit that hip-hop has sometimes been a genre of music which has failed to pique my interest – in particular the old-school hip-hop Hector seem to be influenced by – but when eventually ‘The Waltz’ has built up enough, Louie drops into a rap assault that is so savagely badass that the entire atmosphere in the room warps to fit the unique, frenzied brand of excitement that Hector Bizerk create.

Afterwards, ‘Party at A & E’ provides the first familiar song of the set, and it sounds both reckless and calculated, mirroring the hectic possibilities of a night in Glasgow.

To the side of the stage Pearl Kinnear paints on a canvas as a non-musical member of the band, but the more immediate attention is drawn to tonight’s hype man, who dances and waves an emblazoned flag to help keep the audience jumping along.

It’s been a pretty intense year as the band have released four EPs inspired by their city’s crest, and played in America to the crowds of South By South West, but confirming that Glasgow is still their best crowd, tonight seems like a pretty sweet cherry on top of an impressive cake (excuse my bad metaphor).

The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is the LP Hector Bizerk are launching, and it is so named because of the stage show Crazy Jane, which the group wrote music for.

Amongst the fan favourites is a new song from the album ‘Yes, I Have Autism’, a solid indicator the band’s song-writing abilities are consistently getting better and better.

This twinned with their insane live show makes clear that Hector Bizerk’s momentum isn’t going to wane any time soon.

More Photos

Words: Greg Murray
Photos: Tim Gray