Dehd //17.02.23 @ Barrowland Ballroom

It’s no big secret that we spent our summer sipping White Claw on Yatesville Lake , absolutely rinsing Dehd’s back catalogue in the HOT summer. However we also had a wee stopover in Chicago – one of the coolest cities we’ve ever visited. It certainly gives NYC a run for its money, quirky theatres, beaches galore, beautiful parks with plenty of summer live music for free to boot. What we did miss out on was the city’s own music scene…

We hoped to catch Dehd on their home turf, but they were elsewhere in the USA touring. The local scene during summer with everyone out of town playing festivals literally consisted on David Grey and a few emo bands. We missed out, it would seem.

So… when we noticed that Dehd were rolling into our much loved Barrowland Ballroom, supporting Dry Cleaning we made a note of getting down early to catch their set and by the looks of things so did the rest of Glasgow.

We haven’t seen the ballroom packed out this much since last February when Jenny Beth supported IDLES…

Not one for easing into the set opening track was the punchy ‘Bad Love’ a recent single, from the bands 4th LP, ‘Blue Skies’ an album we would later take home that evening… fan grilling hard. This track is one of our favourite tracks on the album, it’s exactly what Dehd do best. Low-Fi, grungy remorseful love ballads.

Lead singer and bassist Emily Kempf, has a unique, guttural wail that is reminiscent of Brody Dalle but oozes uber thrift punk meets saccharine sweet look of Alabama from True Romance and we are 100% here for it.

Next up is hit single ‘Loner’ which was the track that made us fall in love with this band last year. Soaring guitar riffs, bluesy drums and a dynamic vocal range that leans towards some sort of punk yodelling. It’s ticking all of our boxes. There’s a lot of energy on stage while this song is being played.

This is followed by ‘Nobody’ from 2020’s, ‘Flowers of Destruction’ and back to ‘Stars’ from their latest album. Even although we spent most of summer with Dehd on repeat nothing really beats seeing this band perform live.

The energy that lead guitarist Jason Balla has on stage is unparalleled joy, the band are unapologetically themselves, serving up lashings of darkwave, fuzzy guitar indie surf pop.

They rip through a 45minute set littered with gems such as; ‘Clear’ – with it’s anthemic chorus, ‘Flood’, ‘Empty’ and ‘Eggshells’. There are beautiful sober moments where you can hear a pin drop, gorgeous two part harmonies and lashings of atmospheric soul.

There’s lots of fun audience chat in between tracks mainly from Jason & Emily while drummer Eric McGrady has a more constant focus on the kit in front of him. The band seem amused by how similar Glasgow is to Chicago, when we caught up with them after the show they promised to move to town very shortly… we’ll hold you to that.

The ethereal, ‘Window’ closes the set, its poignant yet hopeful – something that underpins most of Dehd’s tracks. It’s seemingly a casual endeavour but in fact it’s a well thought out masterpiece.

On our way to the bar, before Dry Cleaning took to the stage the audience was bustling with ‘Who were they?’ and countless voices spelling out ‘Dead but with and H. D-E-H-D’. I think it’s fair to say hearts have been won over.

Words/ Photos Angela Canavan

Jesse Malin @Stereo // 14.02.23

Here we are reporting from the trenches of the Y2K revival once again… it’s been 20 years since Jesse Malin released his low key debut ‘The Fine Art of Self Destruction’ back in 2003.

When teenage us, had the record on repeat in our bedrooms, dreaming of red-stone stoops, the Manhattan skyline and all the unfiltered, grunge existentialism that The Big Apple had to offer.

Along came an album that bounced jovially around dark topics such as loneliness and depression.

It was every emo girls dream. Yes, the chord progressions are simple but what do you expect from an album that was hastily slung together in 6 days with the on and off presence of Ryan Adams?

“The Fine Art of Self Destruction” has always been one of those albums that we keep coming back to. Maybe because it reminds us of the whimsical folly of being 15 or maybe it’s because even after all this time we can still warble away to 95% of the lyrics. Some things last a long time, as a wise man once said and what I’m certain of is Glasgow has held a symbiotic brotherhood with Jesse Malin for years and I’m confident he will be playing in our city for years to come.

Stereo is completely packed to the rafters this evening, it’s squeezing room only and we had clamber up onto the side seats just to catch a glimpse of the action.

Jesse strolls on stage at the early time of 8:20pm, having played Glasgow countless times I’m sure he’s familiar that we like a good bang for our buck and with Stereo’s gig curfew set strictly at 10pm he’s making sure he delivers on the promise of kickstarting the UK tour with bang.

Sporting tartan trousers and a whole new set of togs he purchased that afternoon from the ubiquitous Dee’s of Trongate, he opens the set with, “Hotel Columbia”, from his 2016 album, “The Heat”… but wait aren’t we here for one album played in it’s entirety?

“I didn’t want to do things the boring way” explains Jesse. He continued on with, “The Way We Used to Roll” and “Turn up the Mains” before starting with the title track of “Queen of the Underworld”.

The band will go on to play the album in sequential order, briefly punctuated in the middle by a cover of The Replacements, “Bastards of Young”.

The band play a like a well oiled machine, the songs have have a certain grace and poignancy that can only be matured over time – like a fine wine. It’s clear they still hold appeal from the reactions of the riveted crowd.

But what really made this performance special was the affinity Malin has with the Weedgie audience.

There’s recollections of good times he had visiting the goth headquarters of our town The Cathouse in his 20’s when his former band supported Greenday at the infamous Barrowland.

There’s jovial banter about Manhattan slum lords, the Hells Angels, being in part of a anarchist group when he was 16 and having a friend dump all over his record collection as a teenager.

It’s this intimate glimpse into the stories that inspired the tracks on the album that really have the audience captivated.

There is even a funny interlude about King Tut’s (which is Malin’s usual stomping ground in Glasgow) where he explains how he used to work the door at the NYC nightclub that the independent music venue borrowed its name from.

Subsequently a bar in NYC, called Niagara which serendipitously he now helps to run.

There’s moments of entertaining showmanship, when Malin, throwing covid caution to the wind (although he did confess to being a part time germaphobe).

Bounded into the audience to sing amongst the audience, at one point during “She Don’t Love Me Now” even clambering up beside us (15 year old me would have literally died).

But the underlying caveat of the evening was all about love, acceptance and generally have a good time and above all else be kind to each other.

Set highlights for us included; “Subway” with its sunny, jazz piano and upbeat jangle it’s not hard to imagine Bruce Springsteen playing it, “Tranny” about a friend of Malin’s whose mafia associated father disapproved of his sons penchant for getting drunk and dressing in drag.

Clearly before the time of Drag Race.

The Fine are of Self Self Destruction’ with its languishing guitar riff. Made even more poignant when Malin explained that the name was inspired by The Boomtown Rats, “The Fine Art of Surfacing” which featured the track “I Don’t Like Mondays” which sadly inspired the 1979 Cleveland Elementary Shooting.

“This was inspired by a Welsh man called Lenny” Malin explains in a wee doff of the cap to Motörhead before singing “Solitare” with honeyed vocals.

The album set list is capped with “Meet Me at the End of the World Again” before a brief encore that begins with, “Thank you for 29 years of friendship, Glasgow” the band play a super up temp, blinding cover of The Clash’s “Rudy Can’t Fail” which has the packed out crowed pogoing rapturously along to.

The only thing worth lamenting over is that we didn’t have time to hang around after the set, to get our vinyl signed.

Oh well, that can wait for what I feel will be a timeous return once again to Glasgow.

Chris Helme 11.02.23 // @Summerhall, Edinburgh

Y2K is trending… I never thought I would see the day trackies and butterfly clips would once again grace our shopping baskets but here we are.

This of course is spoken from someone who has predominantly dressed like Kate Bush sporting big hair, 80’s batwing sequins and gold lame for most of my adult life…

It comes as no surprise then that we are seeing a resurgence of bands who reached their heyday mid 90’s into the early 2000’s.

Tonight’s crowd are testament to this rhetoric as we spoke to fans from various generations; millennials, Gen Z and X are all gathered here under the beautifully painted ceilings of Summerhall.

Some have travelled from all over Scotland to attend tonight’s show and have jostled their way front and centre to hear Chris Helme perform a one man acoustic come comedy special here tonight.

If it’s nostalgia they’re after then they’ve certainly come to the right place.

Helme arrives on stage promptly just before 9pm, he’s clearly pleased at the crowd amassed before him, as a wide beam grin spreads across his face as he gives his audience an enthusiastic “Y’allright Edinburgh?” in his thick Yorkshire accent.

The crowd erupt in applause.

So what brought Helme to Summerhall this evening? It’s been exactly 25 years since his former band The Seahorses released their popular debut (and sadly only) album titled, “Do it Yourself”

Since The Seahorses, Helme has went on to contribute to various music projects – most notably and one of our firm favourites The Yards (we used to play The Devil is Alive and Well and in DC in most of our DJ sets of yesteryear ).

Yet, it seems sadly that people still refer to Helme as ‘the singer in John Squires post Stone Roses band’. But – that is not who he is tonight.

Tonight it would seem is more of an intimate audience with Helme. Yes, there’s plenty of endearing jokes about John Squire, yes there’s recollections of Oasis’s famous gig at Knebworth and yes Helme is instantly disarming with plenty of silly tales of his own folly.

But ultimately it’s the music that speakers volumes a tried and tested album that has stood the test of time and proven to be a truly magical experience when stripped back to one man and his guitar.

‘John’s pal found me outside of Woolies, busking and he asked me if I would go and audition for his pals band, I wore what I thought was my coolest outfit at the time bootcut jeans and a polo neck… But I almost never got in because my neck was too fat…”

This is the kind of esoteric yet beautiful stories that Helme regales to the crowd before launching into set opener, “I Want You to Know”. At the end of which he’s laughing saying “I bet you thought I was going to play the album in order? But as we all know Blinded by the Sun is the first track on the album and then you would all piss off back home”

It’s this sardonic wit that keeps the audience chuckling away throughout the night.

“Suicide Drive” is next much to the audience’s delight followed by “The Boy in the Picture” which is accompanied by a hilarious memory of…

“John went home to write some lyrics and after seeing him and his brother on two donkeys in an old photograph he wrote the words to this song. He came in in with a4 piece of paper the only word I noticed was strap on. I thought this won’t be a single will it?”

“Hello” was inspired by his ex girlfriend at the aforementioned Knebworth gig. “Love Me and Leave Me” has everyone chanting along in time with Helme and his solitary guitar.

“Love is the Law” illustrates perfectly just why Squire was known for curating a perfect riff.

“Love is Eggshaped” gets massive audience approval – the set is scattered with lots of jovial banter between the crowed and Helme.

Set closer “Blinded by the Sun” comes with its own anecdote about bumping into his girlfriends coffee table but ultimately gets the biggest singalong of the evening.

The Seahorses may have met their demise in their infancy, but the album is imbued with all the nuances that made Brit Rock so appealing in the first place. You can hear echos of Lennon, The Hollies and even Oasis – who Helme influenced too.

At the end of the evening Helme is happily taking photographs and signing albums with the most enthusiastic of fans.

Helme will continue touring throughout much of the year, we recommend catching him when he rolls into town next.

Words: Angela Canavan

Pictures: Angela Canavan

Aoife Nessa Frances @ Nice n’ Sleazy // 03.11.22

Following the release of her sophomore LP ‘Protector’ in late October, Dublin’s Aoife Nessa Frances has recently kicked off the album’s promotional tour of the UK, Europe and Northern Ireland. Glasgow is the third stop in a tour that spans the rest of this month, culminating with a couple of US dates in early December.

Support comes from Ora Cogan, an artist hailing from the Canadian West Coast. Cogan and her band opened the evening with some atmospheric ambient-rock, with flavourings of bossa nova and swing. The set was delivered with a great deal of comfortable confidence from all three band members and, this being my first time hearing of Ora Cogan, I’ll certainly be giving her recordings a listen following this.

Between songs Cogan remarks that the ambience in Sleazy’s this evening is like something out of Twin Peaks. It’s easy to see what she means. At this point in the night the crowd is sparse, the usual posters that adorn the walls of Sleazy’s downstairs have been stripped away, revealing the rather nice red wooden panelling that walls the venue. With a light machine fog permeating the room, and the headliner’s  3-piece setup of drums, guitar and keys arranged in a sort of pincer motion halfway into the stage, I have to say it’s the best I’ve seen the downstairs of Sleazy’s look.

Beginning with new album track ‘Soft Lines’, the pace and mood of the evening is established as they introduce us to a palette of lush fingerpicked guitars, warm and cinematic keys, and steady drum rhythms. The arrangement of each track makes for an immersive experience, and Aoife’s vocals, while velvety and consoling in quality, still hold a commanding presence. The live mix leaves a lot of room for each element to breathe, and the temptation to wash it all out in reverb is resisted in favour of letting textures shine through.

The remainder of the set for the most part maintains this energy level and mood, with Aofie moving to keys on occasion, notably for the bossa nova flavoured ‘Emptiness’ which features a tight groove and loungey feel.  A highlight for me was a track appearing in the first half of the set, ‘Blow Up’ has a way of pulling at the heartstrings with its romantic bassline and bittersweet arrangement.

I think I’d be amiss not to emphasise particular praise for the band’s resident multi-instrumentalist and producer Brendan Jenkinson. Jenkinson does some serious heavy-lifting throughout this band’s live show, as well as with their recordings. Throughout this set we see Jenkinson handling backing vocals, cinematic sequences of piano and pad synth, as well as clarinet on a few tracks. Listening to this performance with no visual you’d be easily convinced the band have a bass player on stage, but Jenkinson handles this duty single-handedly via the keys. A very accomplished musician and clearly a huge asset to Aoife’s music.

As a whole, despite not featuring many peaks and troughs in the dynamic of the set, Aoife and her band provided an atmospheric and musically accomplished journey that at times seemed to make the downstairs of Sleazy’s feel more akin to a smokey LA music club.

The ‘Protector’ tour continues throughout November and the band no doubt still has even more stride to hit.

‘Protector’ is out now on Partisan Records

The Big Moon @Oran Mor // 23.09.22

To know The Big Moon is to love them. As a group, it’s clear to see they possess that magic quality that any fan, or person starting their own band hopes to see: they are all best friends, they are a team. This companionship, authenticity and love is truly what lends The Big Moon a great amount of their charm. It’s also a big part of what made this particular performance at Glasgow’s Oran Mor such a heart-warming, inclusive and wholesome experience.

This show is the fourth in their current circuit of the UK and Ireland, which partly serves to promote the release of their upcoming third studio album ‘Here Is Everything’, set for release on 14/10/22. This album documents lead songwriter Juliette Jackson’s journey of becoming a mother during the 2020 lockdown, which marks a poignant new chapter in the songwriting narrative of The Big Moon. 

Many of these shows were originally scheduled for as long ago as October 2020, and have since been mired by multiple reschedules due to the outbreak and aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fans are eager to hear material from the upcoming album, and also from the band’s sophomore album ‘Walking Like We Do’, released in January 2020.

The crowd in the downstairs club venue of the Oran Mor are attentive and jubilant as members of the band take to the stage on by one, each smiling and waving as if greeting friends they haven’t had the chance to see in a long time. Each member picks up their instruments and joins the swell of serene ambience that precedes them. Once the ensemble is complete, the band transition into their opening track ‘It’s Easy Then’ which features lush backing vocal harmonies from bassist Celia Archer and guitarist Soph Nathann. As the track swells into each massive chorus, many members of the audience can be seen mouthing along, but not aloud, instead letting the sound of the band wash over them in awe-struck silence.

Between songs, the band engage in some conversational and light-hearted chat with each other whilst addressing the audience, before continuing with ‘Take A Piece’. The crowd, now put well at ease by the bands humorous demanour, have no reservations about belting along to this one. The show continues with a joyful and familiar air, tracks like ‘Don’t Think’ inviting audience participation as the band go heavy, the three standing members all group together and turn to face drummer Fern Ford for a huge riff-lead outro. Fan favourite ‘Barcelona’ opens with a three-part flute intro aptly played by Jules, Soph and Celia who finish the intro with a giggle as they disperse to start the song proper.

After the final crowd-led chorus of ‘Cupid’, Jules notifies the crowd that they’re going to play some new music. She also takes this chance to speak on a personal note about the significance of these new songs to her, how they convey her experience of becoming a mother for the first time and the excitement, uncertainty and unparalleled joy this can bring. She calls out to any mothers in the crowd to offer respect and solidarity, as they can all appreciate what she’s about to be singing about.

The show continues with a bittersweet and emotional atmosphere that’s impossible not to be taken over by. Starting with ‘2 Lines’ in which Jules describes the feeling of seeing that positivepregnancy test for the first time. Latest single ‘Wide Eyes’ describes the feeling of falling in love with your new child, and at this moment in particular anyone can see how much this song means to Jules, the band, and the fans.

At this point in the show, any invisible barrier between band and audience has been fully dissolved. The performances are heartfelt and full of touching moments. ‘Formidable’ opens A Cappella with band members arm in arm, the lighting intimate and close. ‘Sucker’ with its touching lyrics of friendship resonating with the crowd. They don’t let their audience ruminate for too long however as they play a crowd-pleasing cover of Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’, accompanied by a spinning pink disco ball.

The final song of the set ‘Trouble’ sees each band member at the height of their energy, before vacating the stage teasingly, knowing full well they’ll be summoned back for more. The band encore with fan favourites ‘Waves’ and ‘Your Light’, which are both massive singalong ‘torches in the air’ moments. After a well-earned bow to thunderous applause, the band finally depart from the stage.

With this performance The Big Moon displayed each magic component that makes them the beloved and respected group that they are. Their love and trust for each other being shared plentifully with the crowd, creating an environment that is universally inviting and innately feminine. It was genuinely beautiful, and a feeling I’ve seldom experienced at any gig before. If you get the chance, do not miss out on this experience. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to have to go and call my Mum.

‘Here Is Everything’ releases 14/10/22 on Fiction Records.

Crowded House 10.06.22 // @Hydro

Going to see Crowded House play live has been a childhood dream of mine. From the opening bars of “Distant Sun” I was instantly transported back to 1993, reminiscent of warm hazy summers and stealing my older sisters copy of ‘Together Alone’ to play on my CD Walkman as I cycled about the park on my purple glittery bike.

I also remember fondly when I lived in Melbourne, how old dears on the tram into the CBD would proudly proclaim as soon as they heard my Scottish accent; ‘It’s four seasons in one day here love you need to take an umbrella with you even if you leave the house in the morning and it’s glorious sun’. The catchphrase four ‘seasons in one day’ will remain engrained in my memory as synonymous with Melbourne and good times. Crowded House playing live tonight only further cements the attachment I have in my mind as a band that deliver fun, frivolity and hilarious exchanges with their fans.

Neil Finn has after all carefully curated a line-up that includes founding members and his two sons Elroy on drums and Liam on guitar which lends the set an atmosphere of genuine gratitude, this is a band who know who they are and are confident in their ability to deliver exactly what their audience want.

To think of a Crowded House gig is to think of the set in almost two halves, the first half is comprised of old favourites like; “Nails in my Feet” and “To the Island” things really started to kick off when the band played 1991’s seminal hit “Fall at your Feet” which perfectly encapsulates what the band are known for – proper nostalgic indie guitar pop.

Bassist Nick Seymour and Neil have a fun moment with the crowd suggesting tonight’s show is a ‘warm up’ for Harry styles – who happens to be playing the following evening. They also joked with the audience about being worried that Del Amitri were also playing across town that night – but they needn’t be as the Hydro was packed to its formidable rafters.

There is a fun moment where Neil is poking fun at the security staff who are there to ‘protect than band’ which was ironic as the crowd was mainly composed of a very gentile audience who remained seated for the entire first half of the show. He then went on to improvise a song about High Vis vests which was a cheerful little ditty that pleased their audience.

‘Black and White Boy’ is another fan favourite, after which, some over excitable member of the crowd shouts ‘Lester’ which happens to also be a song that was penned about Neil’s family dog, the band oblige and play the track ‘Lester’ which is its first outing in 10 years, a real treat for the stalwart fans amongst the audience.

The second half of the set really kicks off after the band play “Private Universe” after this track the band play back to back hits, “It’s good to have you on your feet Glasgow!” announces Neil as the previously seated spectators are now galvanised into proper toe tapping action.

Four Seasons in One Day” has the gargantuan crowd singing in acapella along with chorus which seems to delight the band as much as it did the fans. This is quickly followed by, “Weather With You” which was introduced with an interesting cover of Talking Heads.

A volley of hits follows with; “Something So Strong”, “Don’t Dream it’s Over”,Whatever You Want” – which sees Neil pass the reins to his son Liam who plays virtuoso guitar impressively and in his own right is also a very capable singer. The closing song is, “It’s Only Natural” which by this point has the thousands of jubilant Glaswegian’s chanting along to.

After a brief interlude the crowd demand an encore, which the band happily provide with; “World Where You Live”, “Start of Something” and even a rendition of a track by Neil’s former band Split Enz. “I Got You” is a high paced punk number very different from what the band went on to producer as Crowded House.

The grand finale comes in the form of the romantic, 90’s dream pop of ‘Better Be Home Soon’ which confirm that Crowded House are a band that are unapologetically themselves, they love what they are doing and no matter what they guarantee a good time. Catch them on tour throughout summer for a good old dose of Australian sunshine and 90’s nostalgia.

Words: Angela Canavan

Photos: Angela Canavan

The Lovely Eggs @ STEREO // 27.05.22

Attending a Lovely Eggs concert is quite the cathartic experience, the garage rock due that consists of the married Lancashire duo, Holly Ross and David Blackwell both seem to be brimming with joy at the aspect of having so many fans together again to play live to. There are many points during the set where Holly ushers more fans top the front of the stage pointing fun at ‘those types that like to stand with their arms folded and their view interrupted’ tonight is indeed all about shared experiences and commonality. The crowd is after all composed of fans that have undoubtedly followed the band since their conception in 2006.

Opening track ‘Witchcraft’ see’s the jubilant pair exuding the same energy as a coked up whippet, this is clearly a band who love to perform. The opening track is a slice on high tempo grunge rock and roll that the bands are known for. Next up is ‘Still Second Rate’ which see’s Holly doing some impressive leg kicks whilst simultaneously playing each note at break neck speed.

David’s drumming is also commanding. For two people and a gong The Lovely Eggs sure do pack a punch. Tracks like ‘Slug Graveyard’ showcase the indie, low-fi grunge that the band are known for. ‘Magic Onion’ sees a mass singalong, with it’s easy to repeat chorus.

Other stand out tracks included, ‘Wiggy Giggy’, ‘You Can Go Now’ and ‘This Decision’. The set is perforated with lots of good-humoured, banter, there is a funny anecdote about middle aged crowd surfing and songs dedicated to fans who aren’t with us tonight. AT ONE POINT Holly spots a fan close to the back of the audience who she asks the crowd to cheer for as his dancing is spectacular, he is then ushered to the front of the stage. It really gives the performance a genuine community feel.

Ultimately the set closer of ‘Food’ an upbeat bop about chewing food serves as a reminder of what exactly it is that The Lovely Egg’s have to offer, an upbeat, not too serious reminder to enjoy the little things in life. The band perform a short encore comprised of, ‘I’m With You’ and ‘Return of the Witchcraft’ which pleases the eager crowd and ends the set on a high note.

Tropical Fuck Storm @ Stereo // 26.05.22

I can’t help but think if the B52’s were from the modern era and had an industrial punk/psych rock sound…they’d be Tropical Fuck Storm. The Australian band consisting of Garreth Liddiard, Fiona Kitchin, Lauren Hammel, and Erica Dunn produce a sound that is chaotic, loud, and feverish.

Tropical Fuck Storm’s songs are at times bizarre with satirical lyrics backed by experimental noise which oddly captures the uncertainty of the modern age and the weirdness of the fringes of society. No subject matter is off limits. The most recent album titled “Deep State” explores just that, the deep state. The music is certainly in part a commentary on how fringe beliefs or opinions are becoming mainstream with lyrics referencing topics like Q Anon, conspiracy theories, the capital riots, or state surveillance.

“G.A.F.F” or “Give A Fuck Fatigue” talks about the exhausting burnout experience of the negative news cycle that you simply stop caring. In “New Romeo Agent” Erica Dunn sings about a human spy infiltrating an alien society and falling in love with an alien. “Suburbopia” explores the experience of belonging to a suicide cult.

With Stereo packed wall-to-wall with fans and the music volume up as high as it could go, the music was immersive and larger than life. At the end we may have left the gig questioning whether the fringes of society have become the new norm and if we should join a cult because let’s be honest…we can weirdly identify with every subject Tropical Fuck Storm sings about.

Sweaty Palms @Stereo // 13.05.22

You’ll never think about a can of Lynx Africa the same again and that’s alright.

Sweaty Palms are the avant guard racketeers hailing from Glasgow’s Southside, that want you to stop in your tracks and reconsider your capitalistic ideals. They want you to howl into the abyss and confront society’s demons. But if your not quite there yet, then their music will drag you there kicking and screaming (whelps of pleasure of course, rather than disdain).

Since 2014 the band have garnered a steady following of dedicated fans, their 2018 debut album ‘Quit Now’ received critical acclaim which generated packed out crowds at shows where ever they went.

Now after a two year reprieve the band assembled with new members (Doss on bass) are back with fresh material with its own distinctive sound.

Tonight’s show as part of Pop Mutations see’s Sweaty Palms take the stage with friends that include; Laura St Jude, I Solar and Comfort as well as DJ’s and immersive visuals by Lizzie Urquhart and Time Tunnel. The show feels almost like a home coming – with friends old and new converging on the basement of Stereo for what is undoubtably one of the most unabashed shows of the year.

Opening with the pounding behemoth that is last years ‘Nice to be Nice’ single, instantly galvanises the crowd into head bopping action, there’s even a small mosh pit that ensues.

The track is a swarthy four and a half minute tirade of irate satire on the folly of being overly compassionate or well mannered and being taken advantage of. Which descends into weaponising a can of Lynx deodorant.

It’s an outstanding grungy wall of noise, that delivers a spoken word molotov cocktail, nuancing Glaswegian patter and commonalities that is both easily relatable and agreeably frustrating. At times Robbie Houston’s vocal delivery is reminiscent of Mark E Smith or Aidan Moffat yet, is distinctly itself too.

The band are daubed in green and blue tones from the visual projections which manifests an air of performative art, but also meant that Doss has to peek out, every now and then from behind a tarpaulin screen, while scudding the bass and the drummer is completely obscured for the entirety of the show.

Up next is ‘The Dance’ is a beguiling graveyard stomp that feels like Iain Curtis is having a Halloween tea party with Lux Interior, grinding baselines and irreverent guitar riffs abound.

The band play a super tight set exclusively playing new material that they have been steadily realising track by track each month since last summer. A bold move that ultimately pays off, stand out tracks include; ‘Vaseline’, and ‘FOMO’ and ‘Til The Walls Are Undone’ which offers a slower tempo reprieve from the frenetic former efforts.

After a very short interlude the audience have demanded an encore. Which the band happily provide in the form of ‘Imagination’ which encapsulates what Sweaty Palms do best – glitchy synths, loud oscillating bass and guitar combos and a guttural wail of a chorus ‘they probe my soul and suckle my thoughts’ now I f that’s not a manifesto, I don’t know what is.

Make moves and check out these purveyors of socialist goth, synth punk anarchy before it’s too late.

Pictures: Rosie Sco

Words: Ang Can

Confidence Man @ St. Luke’s // 08.05.22

Confidence Man are a glorious, technicolour cacophony of sound and visuals that aims to simultaneously empower and entertain.

The concept of the band is one that is easily bought into, you have two incredibly talented veiled instrumentalists in the form of Reggie Goodchild and Clarence McGuffie on synth and drums, then up front and centre you have the captivating Janet Planet and Sugar Bones furnishing proceedings with Ibiza podium worthy dancing and vocals. The combined effort is a dazzling, gaudy explosion of indie-sleaze electropop and acid house that would have even the most reticent of the crowd members dancing enthusiastically even on a school night like this…

Hailing from Brisbane Australia, the band exploded onto the scene in 2016 and have been entertaining festival goers on both sides of the Atlantic ever since. Tonight is no exception, in fact it feels like they have brought with them a slice of that shimmering Aussie sun, Scotland has been patiently waiting for.

The band like many, haven’t been resting on their laurels and in fact when the pandemic hit they made a leap of faith and moved in together. The created a makeshift self-titled ‘Fuck Bunker’ where the band have partied hard and pulled together their current album ‘Tilt’ which they are extensively touring across the UK.

From the opening bars of ‘Toy Boy’ the sold out Glaswegian crowd are instantly enamoured, with the jam packed dancefloor writhing and seething with every pounding electronic beat. Taking inspiration from the Talking Heads, Bones and Planet enter the stage (after a short musical interlude) with comically large suits which seem to be operated with some hidden device that makes the shoulders move comically.

It sets the tone perfectly for the remainder of the evening which is, after all, made up in equal measure of theatrics as it is in scintillating music. Think an episode of Schitt’s Creek, set to Alice Deejay. From LCD illuminated cone shaped tops, spraying the crowd with Champaign, countless costume changes to clambering up on to speakers, Confidence Man pull out all the stops to thrill and entertain their fans.

It’s fun, entertaining and guaranteed to make you feel good. The band have carefully curated not only their vivid outfits and choreography but a set list too that is studded with all the fan favourites from across both albums.

Tracks like ‘Woman’ show that the band’s sound can be like electro pioneers ESG, Massive Attack and Liquid Liquid and then on ‘Does It Make You Feel Good?’ which has proper 90’s rave leanings in the same vein as Crystal Waters.

Break It, Bought It’ is effortlessly cool, spoken word edging on disco rap, a track that wouldn’t be out of place on the sound track to Party Monster. ‘C.O.O.L Party’ sparks a massive singalong from the eager crowd.

New material ‘Loving You Is Easy’ touches on early Moby meets Everything but the Girl whereas our favourite ‘Angry Girl’ verges on Le Tigre meets CSS, proving that Confidence Man are as eclectic as their irreverent stage personas would suggest.

They close the set with ‘Holiday’ however it doesn’t take long before the floor boards are being rattled as the crowd stamp their feet and demand an encore which the band happily provide with ‘Relieve the Pressure’ and ‘Bubblegum’ the latter garners the loudest sing along and most fervent of dancing of the evening.

If you want to move and party, then do not miss Confidence Man when they roll into town.

Words: Angela Canavan

Pictures Rosie Sco