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At the Drive-in / Death From Above 1979 / Le Butcherettes

Glasgow 02 Academy (Thursday March 15th)

By • Mar 27th, 2018 • Category: gig reviews

It has been a while since BM glided here, Glasgow’s largest traditional gig venue, tonight with the drapes over the balconies reducing the 2500 or so capacity to around 1500. With tickets at £38 plus booking fee BM is only here due to a discounted secondary website, £15 or so.

ATDI last appeared in Glasgow supporting Royal Blood (£30 at the Hydro) and DFA last appeared headlining at ABC1, hmm.

First on were Le Butcherettes, a three piece from Mexico fronted by Teri Gender Bender, a fine figure of a woman. They gave us a completely OTT half hour of extreme entertainment, Teri coming on like something between Patti Smith and Courtney Love, prancing and preening, stripping off her boiler suit to reveal a natty red mini-dress.

She howled and hollered, played Hammer-esque keyboards while the drums and bass thrashed it out as well. An acquired taste but exciting and in your face as a live act.

Next up, DFA1979, or maybe just DFA these days, have a fearsome live reputation but kinda failed to ignite during the first half of the set, probably because to be honest their last album’s material is not quite as good as the previous one.

From Toronto, Canada, they are a two-man operation, with Sebastiene doing drums and vocals and Jesse doing bass/guitar and occasional keyboards, they can kick up a fair rock racket. From about track 6 or 7, after a witty interlude where Sebastiene chatted to the audience, quite relaxed, they seemed to hit their groove, with ‘Holy Books’ and ‘Freeze Me’ (which to be fair are both from the newish record ‘Outrage! Is now’) before a sizzling rendition of ‘Trainwreck 1979’ (their best song, in BM’s view) and the title track from previous album ‘The Physical World’, before a slightly unexpected cover of ‘Helter Skelter’ (Beatles, obvs) – a muscular and grinding set, just maybe thinking the two-man set-up is limiting them a wee bit now. It was however pretty thrilling to see their live interplay close-up, but again that was partly because anyone could stride up to the front, a support band in a still half empty hall.

And so, after quite a long pause to shift kit around this initially very crowded stage, the place did get pretty busy for ATDI. From El Paso, Texas, the group came to attention with their seminal (?) album ‘Relationship of Command’ back in 2000, and may have been nu-metal before that became a joke genre. After a long hiatus they regrouped a few years ago and have been tearing things up with pretty much the original lineup and even made a new album, ‘Interalia’ (with some stupid punctuation). Although that is not a bad album it is with some satisfaction to all concerned that nine tracks tonight are from ‘RoC’ with a couple of other things thrown in as well.

From the start this a full-on aural assault, and while the backdrop and visuals are quite restrained they are more than made up for by the rock posturing and antics of lead singer and general instigator Cedric Bixler. A mater of the microphone throw and catch, then the microphone stand throw and catch, he catches every one, although BM would not like to be his microphone tech…or the band’s insurers…

The band gives us almost an hour and half, pushing the 11pm curfew right to the last minute with a one-song encore of ‘Pattern Against User’. Before that the highlights are probably in the second half of the set, although the audience are moshing from the start (a curious mixture of ageing hipsters, younger kids and freaks, around 80% male) – it is probably inevitable that things really ignite with ‘One-Armed Scissor’, but that is eight tracks in, so there is quite a lot of foreplay before that. Newer tracks like ‘Pendulum In A Peasant Dress’ sound okay, and older tracks like 198d are a bit of a treat as well. The speed, the passion and the beat always on the edge of spilling over into chaos gives the set the edge of excitement, but mainly it is about five guys playing for their lives, the breakneck kinetic energy really not abating once, although there a few breaks for retuning, etc – not much interaction with audience apart from “are you ready for this, motherf—–s?”.

The brace of tracks towards the end, from the strident power-ballad of ‘Napoleon Solo’, the looser riffs of ‘Invalid Litter Dept’ to the weirdness of ‘Infilade’, keeps up the momentum and they finish with a thundering ‘Governed by Contagions’. After a brief pause they are back on, Bixler telling the audience they “may not be back for some time” before a final ‘Pattern…’ blasts the now pretty exhausted audience home.

Quite a marathon evening of rock – impressive!

Betty Mayonnaise

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