Gig review

Blood Red Shoes / Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad are onstage as I arrive, an eye-pleasing three-piece from Paris, who live in London. Last time they played Glasgow was for Club Olum, and they’re more than welcome on this return. At times reminiscent of Sonic Youth’s dirgy scuzz, they are a driving force: pounding drums and mumbled, yearning vocals meeting minimalist discordances. Someone yells “Je t’aime”, and I have to agree. They later tell me they want to come back and play in Glasgow – I’d recommend you go see them if they do.

The first time I saw Blood Red Shoes they were onstage in the legendary Barrowlands. Romantic, right? They were supporting Maximo Park, and they were tentative and young. Tonight, at King Tut’s, they are headlining, established – and tentative and young. But the clear difference is that at the Barrowlands they were a little swamped – tonight they own the stage.

Storming in with the stomping guitar refrains of debut album opener ‘Doesn’t Matter Much’, they sound tight and coordinated. Gone is drummer/singer Steven Ansell’s bleach blonde locks, and guitarist/singer Laura-Mary Carter is freshly confident, though still alluringly bashful. The depth of their sound is electric, and the audience react strongly. Interestingly, the majority of the crowd tonight is male, clearly enjoying the star on guitar. The pair have been touring their new album solidly, and it shows, with a synchronisation in their playing, magnified by the fact you’d be excused for thinking them twins, their vocals often tricky to peel apart.

The drums are getting a drubbing as they launch into new song ‘Keeping It Close’, almost keeping Laura’s flightiness in check, and the energy remains intense as the set rockets onwards. ‘It’s Getting Boring By The Sea’ is a highlight, as is a blistering version of ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’, the crowd chanting along to the self-conscious refrain ‘Made a mistake’ – Laura admitting her heart is “already broken” before they start, to many a boy desperate to reaffirm her faith in their gender!

But tonight, the new tracks are the treat, and although each is easily recognisable as a BRS track, distinctive in their vocals, their rhythms and guitar lines, there’s a new maturity pulsing through each. Towards the end of the set is a lyrical, melodic song, almost pretty – hypnotic, Delgados-esque, and definitely a stand out.

They leave the stage with an encore of ‘Say Something. Say Anything’, and it’s clear to us all tonight that there’s more to come from this stunning duo.