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Glasgow The Quay Sessions / Mono (April 18th / 19th)

By • May 3rd, 2018 • Category: gig reviews

So this was a superb double-header!

Having got lucky with ballot tickets for Mastersystem at the BBC Radio Scotland Quay Sessions recording last night, BM was so impressed that she also attended the instore appearance at Mono tonight as well. Can’t think of a time when the same band has been experience twice on consecutive dates, so here goes….

Mastersystem is a band of brothers – Frightened Rabbits’ Hutchison brothers and Editors/Minor Victories Lockey brothers. The album ‘Dance Music’ is out now (on Physical Education records) and the combo are gearing up to play it on tour. So The Quay was their second ever live show and Mono was their third. Very interesting to see the band under the TV lights and cameras of the BBC, then the following night in the more downbeat, relaxed and beery confines of Mono.

Roddy Hart’s interview with Scott Hutchison midway through the Quay set was interesting. Scott talked about “starting up a new band, from the bricks up”, with all the idealism that goes with it, and referencing the music around when they were all growing up (quite a lot of “Seattle grunge”). So the Mastersystem “project” appears to be a no pressure, new creative partnership between brothers in arms, away from the day jobs.

And the music? They play all nine tracks of the album ‘Dance Music’ on both nights, in sequence, and it is an absolute delight. Editors Justin Lockey is on tour at the moment so they are playing with a (very good) stand-in guitarist, with the Hutchisons on vocals/guitar and drums and James Lockey on bass.

The tracks are grungy, dark, heavy of riff and flailing of drums. There are some definite Nirvana/Smashing Pumpkins moments, but also echoes of Mogwai (there is a Mogwai remix of ‘Old Team’ and Braithwaite was spotted at Mono tonight).

You can see on both nights the glee with which all of them attack the performance, more laid-back at Mono perhaps. The Quay was pretty much full, but Mono was not exactly rammed and BM and others had the absolute privilege of seeing and hearing these musicians at the peak of their powers, doing something new, at close range, without sponsorship shite or boozed-up talkers and phone wankers…

Everyone will have a favourite on the album but for BM ‘Old Team’ (“don’t fuck with the old team”) and ‘Notes On A Life Not Quite Lived’ are stand-outs, some familiar mid-30s angst creeping in… And the last track ‘Bird is Bored of Flying” is a furious meltdown which on both performances ends in a drum and feedback apocalypse, no encore because there ain’t nothing else to play!

A unique couple of evenings, and a real grower of a record.

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