Yes the brothers Matt and Steve Morris are from these shores, but they’ve been based in Berlin for some time, long enough that it’s clear in Matt’s voice that’s for sure, indeed it’s been over four years since the brothers had played a gig on home soil.
Opening the night are local country rockers Tallahassee Falls, who delivery a set full of deep, dark, heavily country tinged vocals, which are complimented by a few guitar flourishes that push them into that specific genre bracket.
That aside, their sound is generally built on solid folk rock foundations; slower numbers demonstrate the ability of vocalist Rachel; holding a tune admirably.
Tallahassee Falls may possess a sound that’s not to everyone’s taste, but there’s no arguing that what they do they do very well.
Next up are Aberdeen based Craws, who have returned from a break of playing live to take part in this wee tour and the band, who share key members with powerpop favourites Farewell Singapore, seem in fine form; sneery pop with bouncing basslines, some nice garage surf vibes and bag loads of energy.
They blast through a set like there’s no tomorrow, cramming a ridiculous amount of songs into such a short space of time, with what is decipherable of their lyrics oozing delightful comic immaturity and delivered with an urgency any pop punk would be proud of, screaming lines like “my phone was dead,” before the fire alarm gives us an unwelcome visit to the chilly streets.
The outside is quite a sobering experience, not what you need on a Monday night that carries much more vibrancy than your regular first day back at work.
Still we’re only outside for a short time and the basement quickly heats back up to sauna like levels as Craws finish their set as they left off, with plenty of fun, fast surf punk and even save their quickest track til last.
Hjeartzz are up next and the band who describe themselves as “bedroom superstars from a pop-geek universe,” more than live up to their description with powerful indie pop vibes with driving rhythms and fast, paced bratty vocals.
They continue the short fast song vibe Craws had built and maintain the same standard in engaging fashion, indeed during a tuning set a few songs in they seem out of breath; you can’t argue they’re not putting their all in and it is bloody warm down here tonight.
Dedicating songs to Harry Potter fans and song titles like ‘King of the Dipshits’ demonstrate the band’s silly humour, while named track sees their singer rolling on the floor as their high energy, ever likeable set finishes with a bang.
Then it’s Milwalkie’s turn and vocalist Matt is full of praise for the Hjeartzz guys for setting this tour, of which this is the first night; and the four-piece don’t let their promoters down with a set full of soothing, smooth angelic vocals, which cruise comfortingly over sky reaching guitars and gently enhancing rhythms.
The band’s music may not have the embedded humour of the previous two acts, but it does have a bed of emotional honesty and musical maturity that sees them take an indie rock base, add driven ceiling gazing tweaks of post rock and a touch of ethereal dream pop to create lush soundscapes, which combine brilliantly with an endearing presence that’s difficult to match.
There’s an ever present air of optimism running through their sound, creating something reassuring out of something that could easily been so bleak and as the brothers play off each other with the careful intensity of a band that seem totally in sync, their luxurious sounds fills a sadly emptying basement as folks head for the last trains.
Words: Iain Dawson