REVIEW | Marc Halls – The Hug & Pint (17.07.17)

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Hailing from Essex, former Hey Vanity frontman and established artist Marc Halls recently journeyed on a tour across the UK, joined by fellow friend and musician Jakob Oelofse, better known as We Are All Fossils, with their latest stop being The Hug And Pint in Glasgow.


The duo of Gemma Matthews and Ciaran Boyle – collectively known as The Gracious Attempt – were first. There was a blend of crisp harmonies, particular from Gemma, and the keys and acoustic chords, while straightforward in nature, were able to produce quite the ambience.

There were some noticeable miscues in the penultimate number, but otherwise a very warm and enjoyable set which we would be more than happy to see more of in the future.


Judging by the ticket sales, Austin Miller appeared to be pretty popular, and it was easy to understand the appeal of him.

He looked confident and sounded fairly passionate, and the rest of his entourage added to the music nicely. Admittedly, it was a little hazy early on, with some instances of the group being a touch out of time, but they tightened up as they went along, dishing out a batch of fun, large-sounding tunes that drew in and held the attention of the audience before capping off in extravagant fashion.

Very good stuff, we must say, and the potential is plain to see in this fellow.


And now for something more low-key – We Are All Fossils, accompanied by Marc Halls.

Whether giving us material that was upbeat or gentler and atmospheric, his voice was pure and his playing was damn near perfect, plus we got a showcase of great lyrics and he certainly earned some respectful applause for his work.

A superb artist with an undeniable charm to him.


The man of the hour, Marc Halls himself, stepped up to close out the night, and in a role reversal was Jakob now backing him up, and they proved to be a dynamic pairing.

He looked nothing short of a legitimate star on that stage, and was very proficient on the guitar, keyboard and even the harmonica. A major strength was in his writing, as demonstrated in the likes of Bittersweet Memories, We’ll Be Ok and Open Ended Stories.

Erised had a cool beat and infectious chorus, and The Grey featured a sweet moment in which the crowd members joined in clicking their fingers without being even asked too.

A tremendously satisfying performance that we would happily pay to watch again and again.

REVIEW | Allusondrugs – Nice N Sleazy (14.07.17)

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As far as the best rising rock acts in the UK go, Allusondrugs from Leeds are among the elite in that category, having drawn in fans from all over with their dazzling music and reaping acclaim from the press.

The latest chapter in their journey success involved the guys heading up to Scotland for a weekend tour, in which they were joined by Bloodlines from Fort William, and it would all begin at Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow.


Opening the night was Visceral Noise Department, a quartet that had a sound blending grunge and psychedelic rock, with an added modern touch. The guitars were beautifully dirty, the slower numbers were gripping, and they were frantic and energetic when the tempo was kicked up.

Our favourite moment was when the hairy Brenden – donning pyjamas and odd socks – leaped onto the floor and went totally bananas. A wonderful scene, it all was.


And now for something completely different – The Eagertongue. Graham came in with an elaborate desk setup chock full of pedals, wires, a drill and other bits and bobs, and he produced droning electronic sounds with all the tools at his disposal, throwing in some spoken word and yells in the midst of it all.

There was an interesting magnetic quality about it. Sure, it had a pretty repetitious nature in places, but we could not keep our eyes off him all the same. Likewise, a big chunk of the audience stood and respectfully gave their attention.

It is difficult to properly describe, so it would be worth seeing it for yourself, but credit must be given to Graham for what was undoubtedly a fresh and intriguing experience.


There was much anticipation as Bloodlines stepped up, and they burst out with the superb Love The Taste. Their line of newer material was top notch, showcasing their evolving heavier sound.

Mother’s Misery was immensely catchy and had a heck of a hook, while Cathedral was defined by calmer verses which would give way for sweeping choruses. They cranked up the intensity one last time as they capped off with the utterly berserk Skeletons

Throughout, the riffs were vehement and the dual vocals were strong. A brilliantly tight set that was just another win for one of the country’s finest up and coming ensembles.


A mass sea of folk gathered and perched themselves at the stage for Allusondrugs, who got the room buzzing in a hurry and it was not long before the room became a dense sweat box. The highlights are tricky to narrow down, for there are too many to count.

The fast and furious Magic College had a bouncy melody, and classic throwback I’m Your Man was received wall. People passionately sung back the words to Sunset Yellow, although Jason amended the lyrics to “made 2013 come my chest”…well, we will not be able to listen to that track the same way again.

There was unified headbanging afoot for the much loved new tune, and I Should Have Gone To Uni earned a fervent reaction. In the latter part of the set, a couple directly in front of us were getting awfully frisky. Who knew that Allusondrugs brought out the romantic side of people?

A surf-filled frenzy was sparked as the boys wrapped up the night with the pairing of Cherry Pie and Handicapped, concluding one of the most emphatic, jam-packed performances we have witnessed in all of 2017.

 

 

REVIEW | Rainfalls – The Attic (13.07.17)

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Life can be cruel sometimes. All was ready to go for one of the UK’s fastest rising acts – Holding Absence – to hit Scotland for their first ever headline tour in the country. Unfortunately, due to their van breaking down, they were not able to make it to Glasgow, and everybody was left gutted.

But all was not lost, as their tour buddies Rainfalls decided to push on and keep the gig going without them, and being advocates for supporting the local scene, we decided to stick around for the ride.


Never Meant come on in front of their excitable circle of friends. Unfortunately, their set was mild at best, with some spots of decent beats and melodies here and there yet lacking a spark in general. In fact, the highlights came in the form of chants for bassist Tony and girls being speared to the floor on more than one occasion (not as violent of a situation as it sounds, just to clarify).

The trio have a long way to go yet, with it being a case of them needing to fine-tune their live performance and add an element to make them stand out more and draw the interest of outsiders.


Alternative pop-rockers In Stations were up next, and quickly caught our ears with their opening pair of tracks which, considering they had only been written a couple of days prior, sounded pretty good.

Not Anymore featured a rocking chorus, Oceans was a wildly energetic marvel with crunchy as hell bass chords, and Summer had a quick pace and smashing fills. They had a clear confidence on stage that never overflowed into cockiness, and they undoubtedly brought more of a sense of fun to the night.

Talk about making a first impression; these guys were seriously great. Thoroughly recommended.


Impromptu headliners Rainfalls were last up for us to witness them for what was the third time now, and we think they were at their very best here.

The main driving force of the group was frontman Gary. Aside from his fierce vocals, he had this unique, imposing presence that is difficult to describe, where he just enters a completely different mind-frame, which was even more evident by his sharp gazes into the eyes of select audience members.

In addition to that, the rest of the band were firing on all cylinders, with them jumping about like mad as they pitched out intense riffs and yielded rampant rhythms. Each song, whether fast or slow in tempo, had the people hooked and they only had them more hooked in as time elapsed.

It would come to a head with Gary screaming through the fabric of his T-shirt that was draped right over his head before toppling back-first onto the hard floor. An entertaining half hour of forcible proportions that soothed the pain of missing out on Holding Absence and made the night all worthwhile.

 

 

REVIEW | Wasted Years – Ivory Blacks (12.07.17)

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Wasted Years from Glasgow are a group that have been slowly but surely working their way up the scene for the longest time now, and so far, 2017 has brought them plenty of success; most notably the release of their Moving Mountains EP which has earned them praise, and deservedly so.

To capitalise and help promote it, the guys began to embark across the country for a little tour, starting off with a gig at Ivory Blacks.


I Said Good Day are an act that we had been meaning to see for ages, and now we finally got the chance on this night to see them live.

They showed ample enthusiasm and activity, as evident by all the sweat they were shedding. On top of that, the bass really shined and there were a couple of neat headbang-worthy sequences in there, most prominent in the likes of Lost Light and Plugfoot.

Unfortunately, they were hindered by numerous miscues, particularly in the early-goings. But to their credit, they eventually found a groove as they progressed and we soon warmed up to them. Adequately satisfying, overall.


Get Out Strong were a trio that we were definitely familiar with at this point, and they were enjoyable as usual. Speak was a peppy, fast-paced tune, the vocals were sturdy in Next Time, and Don’t Let Me Burn was a catchy banger as always.

David worked hard battling a flimsy mic stand over the course of Answers, and following an instrumental interlude, they dished out Tidal Waves to bring to a close a great performance, and judging by a comment we overheard calling them “a younger Biffy”, they must have done something right.


And now for the stars of the evening – Wasted Years.

Blackout served as a solid opener, before they stepped it up a notch with Tied Down. Minor slip ups aside, their latest single Hold On impressed with a pounding rhythm and sweet riffs, and the mellow Forever was driven by emotionally-fueled harmonies from leading man Dennis.

The boys pushed the energy even further with WGS, before concluding with their chief track Voices, which was headed by a powerful, memorable chorus. On the whole, they got the job done in front of the sizeable crowd as they continue to display improvement, and we can only commend them for getting to this point.

We wish all the best to the Ayrshire troupe for whatever the future holds for them.

REVIEW | Halflives – Bar Bloc (11.07.17)

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Way back in March 2015, at the renowned Bar Bloc, we had the opportunity to see a band all the way from Italy by the name of Over. While it was not the greatest turnout, we personally loved them and made some new friends in the process.

Later down the road, they underwent some changes; becoming Halflives, developing a fanbase and touring tirelessly across the continent. Meanwhile, we waited for what seemed like an eternity for the guys to return to Glasgow.

Finally, on 11th July 2017, they made their highly anticipated return to the city and were ready to take Bloc by storm once again.


Opening up the night were local lads Nuclear Club, who we had been meaning to see for  a while now, and they thoroughly impressed us.

They were able to produce such an immersive sound thanks to a triad of slick guitars, vocals that blended together nicely and hammering rhythms, not to mention the addition of bongos, shakers and whatever else they had in their arsenal.

They did well in keeping the crowd intrigued and they certainly exceeded our expectations. This is a band that we hope do not go unnoticed, because they are pretty damn good.


One swift changeover later and Halflives were ready to go. They fired out the gates with the catchy Mayday, where they were quick to display a firm chemistry on stage, and they would keep amplify the energy further with the electric Lone Wolf.

Following that, there was Collide in which the passion was just oozing out of frontwoman Linda as she got utterly soaked in her performance. The Sickness was driven by a bouncy beat and showcased some fine writing, while the title track of their Empty Rooms album had a hooking melody.

They gave us solid covers of 30 Seconds To Mars’ The Kill and My Chemical Romance’s Welcome To The Black Parade, before giving us Echo, a ballad definied by a staggering chorus. The rocking Half Alive inspired some mad dancers in the venue, and they then wrapped up stylishly with the emotionally-packing Burn.

A superb set as predicted from one of Europe’s brightest musical prospects. Halflives only get better with each passing day, and it’s about time they got some major recognition for their talents.

REVIEW | Meadowlark – Postcards

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It has been quite the journey thus far for Kate McGill and Daniel Broadley of Meadowlark. Initially spending years working under their own individual projects, they banded together a while back and have since then quickly built themselves as one of the most exceptional duos currently in the British scene. Numerous singles and a batch of EPs later, the time has come for the release of their eagerly awaited debut album – Postcards.

Headlights opens the proceedings with an aesthetic, magnetic melody made from the combination of Kate’s perfectly fitting slender voice and smooth electronics. Sunlight is underlined by a stimulating beat, and Pink Heart is a catchy piece where the faint acoustics add an extra touch of depth. Following that, One is highlighted by such a gripping hook, while Eyes Wide is notable for a spirited chorus which has a fair bounce to it; a trait also prominent in Fly, Body Lose and Paraffin.

But not all the songs are as peppy, for there are more low-key numbers on offer, such as the profound That’s Life – characterised by graceful strings and piano keys – and the lyrically striking title trackSatellite is well-written, Undercover is pretty memorable, and they finish up with the stirring Little Boxes.

Postcards is an enticing and mature affair that captivates the senses throughout, showcasing the talents of a very proficient pair that each bring something to the table in a big way. It took very little for us to fall in love with this record, and we expect the same for anyone else lucky enough to discover this act.


BUY “POSTCARDS” ON ITUNES


Meadowlark will embark on a UK tour later this year in support of their new record.

MEADOWLARK TOUR

REVIEW | The Colour Line – The Old Hairdressers (02.07.17)

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The Colour Line…honestly, what can be said about this band? Well, a lot of words come to mind – insane, chaotic, loud, mad, and in the case of venue owners, the most terrifying physical commodity imaginable.

To put it lightly, the boys are quite the live act, and a ridiculously entertaining one at that. So when the news broke that they would be calling it a day, we were simply devastated. But there was a silver lining in that they announced one final UK tour, including a trip to The Old Hairdressers in Glasgow.

And with that, we headed down to witness, as we dubbed them, “the UK’s most notorious health and safety hazard” for the last time.


We first caught the duo of Slow Walkers back at Friends With Benefest a few months prior, where they had left us impressed, and the same could be said for them here as they served the audience a combination of screeching electronics, intense yelling, chunky bass chords and hammering drums, all whilst submerged in blinding strobes.

Throw in some graceful showers of spit from Matthew and a pair of front rolls from a fellow in grey, it was freaking sweet stuff from one of the city’s more unconventional metal duos.

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After everybody got the chance to adjust their eyes to normal light again, Vemodalen stepped up. They were the only ones on the bill that we went in blind too, and while they claimed to be a little worried beforehand about potentially being out of place, we did not think that in the slightest, as they were terrific.

The trio dished out a selection of bangers that were very upbeat, catchy and clicking easily with the crowd. A superb effort from a cracking and noteworthy discovery for us.

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It had been ages since we last saw Colours To Shame, and they were just as awesome as we remembered them to be. Rory and Thomas did a hell of a job in the riff department with very precise displays. Meanwhile, Blair cranked out deep bass tones and Graeme enthused with some weighty drumming.

They are such a rare act in the sense that they are able to emit such a huge presence while barely moving an inch on stage. Their bulky sound alone does enough to suck people in.

In Search Of Sasquatch and Chocomeggah ranked as the highlights of the set; the latter still being a perfectly constructed beauty of a song. Colours To Shame are looking better than ever, and we can only hope that they some big plans for the near future.

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And last but certainly not least, the stars of the evening – The Colour Line themselves. The quartet lashed out with plenty of trademark outlandish moments, most of these courtesy of vocalist Sam obviously, such as him swinging around the mic like a lasso, lobbing around stands, putting his mountaineering skills to the test as he climbed up on the Orange cabs, going for a surf, dragging security into the mix and sharing a manly embrace with promoter Harris in the centre of the room.

The pits were ample, and although there were a few intimate moments as the crowd got together in a tight knit huddle around the band, the intensity would just kick off again and again. The guitars were also frantic and the rhythms were meaty, even if the bass suffered from a couple of technical faults.

It was all mental as per, and they finished on an emotional note as they performed their last ever written tune, and it was pretty beautiful. Much love to The Colour Line for all the memories they have given us and the rest of Glasgow over the years, and we wish them the very best in all their future endeavours.