Gig review

Blanck Mass

This was the first SAMA (Scottish Alternative Music Awards) bash that Betty has attended, and a damn good evening it was! Well done to main organiser Ritchie Muirhead and his team, along with the sponsors, the venue and the charities being promoted. Also very good value at just over a tenner for a ticket.

BM does not feel it is fair to review the other three acts who played live tonight (there were a lot of people to meet and things to do so really only heard/saw snippets of them – these being (in order of appearance, Heir of the Cursed (solo singer, she certainly sounded great but BM missed a bit due to lateness), Shredd (guitar/bass duo who were loud and rocky, almost Zepplin-esque at times) and the Vegan Leather, who came on before the headliner.

In between the acts there were a number of awards presented, most notably for Solareye, who won “Best Hiphop” and was clearly pretty surprised! In fact presenter Jim Gellatly was in the middle of saying “well he’s not here so I’ll just mind it for him” before the man himself appeared at the side of the stage – “er, I am here!”.

BM was primarily attending to get yet another blast of Blanck Mass, cannae get enough of this. There were warnings about the impending volume and by the time “Ben” Mass came on around 10pm a lot of the audience had cleared into the bar to compare awards and assess the European football scores. They missed a treat, a good 40 minutes of blasting, doomy, at times dancey and intense electronica, of the variety only a few artists can really pull off. It was loud, although clearly not loud enough for Mr Mass, who during the first period was gesticulating at the sounddesk to “make it louder”. The venue is however in a semi-residential area and no one wants it shut down due to noise complaints so on this occasion a slightly less loud Blanck Mass set would have to do.

The tunes were mainly from the previous album and some more recent EPs but live there are always deft new twists or treatments of the material. BM thinks she recognised ‘Dead Format’ and possibly ‘The Rat’ at least. Ben Mass also enjoys a good yell over the top of several tracks, hopping around with the mike against his face howling like a disembodied gremlin of the sort that comes out closer to the end of October.

He did pull a very unexpected and welcome surprise out the bag for the last track however. BM noticed Luigi from Outblinker standing near the front of a by now quite depleted crowd (only the real mentalists were into this but never mind!) and he and Outblinker’s guitarist (apols, BM is terrible with names and writing this in a hurry!) came on to add extra guitar and synth to the closing, fairly death-metal vs The Prodigy-ish number (which BM does not think has been waxed to vinyl or any other formats as yet, may be wrong…). The three of them looked as if they were relishing bringing this supercharged beast of a track finally into life and then closing the show. There was never going to be much chance of an encore but the whole thing was then very suddenly over, the end to a really top night. BM will definitely look out for next year’s SAMAs as well, and you can read the full list of winners on the SAMA’s website.