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Check Masses

Glasgow King Tut's (Tuesday 17th August 2021)

By • Aug 21st, 2021 • Category: Gig review

A “proper” gig – as in, inside, no crowd number restrictions and no tests – seems quite unprecedented. The gap since the Lemon Drink show in March 2020: 17 months…

King Tut’s was responsible in terms of checking people in, but with Check Masses playing on a bill with three other local bands, it was actually quite crowded and rowdy, social distancing now a thing of the past (BM hopes this continues but it takes a bit of getting used to).

The three support bands had various good points, some nice Cranberries/Cure guitar strumming from Bight, some pseudo-hardcore gothy histrionics from Dusk Amadeus, which created a certain amount of moshing (as the young people tend to do) plus some more mainstream fare from Noise (Balloch boys who attracted their own crowd, quite a party night out for some), and who kindly provided a backline for the headliners, before Check Masses took the stage just after 11pm. There was still a reasonable crowd, some of whom (like BM) were specifically there to see them but others were stragglers from the previous acts…

Playing their first gig since January 2020 (at the Blue Arrow a long time ago!), the Leith three-piece (joined by bass and drums, making five in all) got down to business with cuts from their debut album ‘Nightlife’.

As BM has previously noted, the trio of “Philly” Angelo Collins, Saleem Andrew McGroaty and Vic Galloway (best known for his Radio Scotland show) have a rich musical history of experiences, collaborations and diverse influences – these influences go as wide as reggae, Massive Attack-esque mutant dub, rockabilly riffs, calypso and pop…

They played eight tracks in all, starting with the atmospheric and dub-heavy ‘Moroccan Skies’, followed by the best of the rest of the album, including a lovely version of ‘Unravelled’ (Vic’s acoustic guitar was understated but right on it) and a great version of ‘Killer’…

Finishing with ‘Dripin’ Angel’, the band fed off the audience (although maybe still more of a first date, after a break period!) and were clearly relishing the opportunity to play together in front of punters. The random Bristolian guy BM chatted to outside was clearly impressed (his mum and dad met at King Tut’s so it was a bit of a homage for him!) and others may well have been converted tonight – BM hopes there will be more gigs (Doune cancellation was a bummer for this lot and so many others) because Check Masses have that special something in their DNA, a deep groove, a charismatic and amiable frontman and the ability to get people dancing…

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