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Gig review gig reviews (Scottish)

Hector Bizerk

And so it has come to pass, Hector Bizerk’s last gig.

After 5 years cutting a swathe through the Scottish music scene with a combination of Louie’s hard-hitting raps backed by a thunderous percussion-heavy racket from the other four members, they are calling it a day, and this is it, tonight!

So tonight BM troops up to the Art School, scene of one of her previous encounters with HB at the most recent album launch earlier this year. The other two were at the notorious Kelvingrove Swimming Pool Electric Honey night of the living ponchos, and also a couple of years ago at Tenement Trail. BM is a massive HB fan – this band has always had an edge, and an incendiary setlist.

The gig is sold out, the Hector massive coming from far and wide, and Edinburgh (haters this is your entry point!). There is no support act and things start in a massive fug of dry ice, but down the front things are more visible as the band step out around 8.30pm. It has already been announced the gig will be in two parts, first one dealing with tracks from albums one and two, then second part the most recent two.

The band consists of Louie, Audrey on drums and Fraser, Craig and one unidentified (sorry) other on bass, percussion, keyboards and other effects. The excellent grafftti artist also gets to work during the set, producing two fine backdrops. There are party balloons. Together they make a pretty fearsome sound tonight, commencing with ‘Drums Rap Yes’, a pretty coruscating analysis of the current music scene (albeit written a few years back) which BM now realises made was the last number in the Lockbacks’ set last Saturday in the Vic.

This lot gave what must be the performance of their careers, everyone was on fire, Louie spitting it out, by turns applauding the crowd and then almost physically willing it to go harder, the reaction being pure mayhem at times (BM guilty of shouting, pointing, jumping, as charged – sweaty Betty indeed, had to retouch the eyeliner three times…).

‘Bury The Hatchet’ was brutal and immense, ‘Columbus’ outstanding, provoking mass shout-alongs and chants in between songs, “Louie, Louie”, “Hector Hector” and the inevitable “Here we go”…

‘Party At A&E’ pretty much summarises what they have been trying to do the last few years, fast rap lines, massive percussive backing, with a socially-aware, scabrous line in sarcastic commentary – “nobody seen nothing” indeed…

Tales of lowlife Glasgow, aspirations shot down and crushing inequality, BM won’t get too pseudo about this because even without that, the music is just incredible and along with other acts in the field (the unbelievable Stanley Odd, the incomparable Young Fathers, also honourable menshies to Sugar Bullet from back in the 80s) they have banished the Scottish rap cringe (ie Scottish rap acts will always be crap and not authentic) forever, and for that they must surely be applauded. We can do this!

Part two (after a ten minute break, they were up against the strict Art School 10pm curfew to clear out before the far more profitable club night starts) was even more full on and emotional.

BM may have got some tracks confused between albums but highlights here were the seemingly-banal but severely extreme ‘They Made A Porno On A Mobile Phone’ (it felt weird and transgressive to be singing along to the catchy chorus, blacker than black, “everybody laughed”). Also the title track from the last Bizerk album “‘The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry’ (dark musings on the mental health industry), the rabidly remorseless attack on small town Scotland ‘Welcome to Nowhere’ .

‘Little Man Says’ similarly injects righteous bile into the general area and ‘Rust Cohle’, with video filmed in the US during a successful foray in 2015, with the immortal reference of “Paul Gascoigne in the Gaza Strip”, a confusion which BM has referenced herself over the years…

The audience was lively to say the least. By the last few numbers there were some crowd control “issues” as a circular hole opened up in the middle of the floor during verses before erupting into a massive swell of bodies when the drums kicked in. Security tried to stop it, it was of course very good-humoured but did add that little edge of danger, which befits the history of this band.

‘The Fish that Never Swam’ closed the gig, another statement of intent – Glasgow, so much to answer for…

There was a band mass band bow at the end, and a lot of shouts for one more tune, but deadlines are deadlines and although Louie came back on to thank everyone again (and he was massively thankful throughout the entire event and completely on cue, disciplined and sound) there was no encore – downstairs there were large numbers of vinyl and other product shifting at the merch stand, manned by Louie, giving his last meets as the HB frontman.

An unforgettable night, a sense of closure and the only way has to be forward, not back!

Betty (with a tear in her eye) Mayonnaise