New band, Dancer, are first up. Even if they didn’t say upfront that this was only their third gig you might guess it from the fact the singer delivers the lyrics from what looks like a laminated menu. But they’ve got solid chops for a young band, grounded within the trendy post-punk foundations currently doing the rounds. The guitarist even manages to fashion whatever the opposite of a keytar is by grafting a mini synthpad to his guitar for one song, creating the bizarre illusion of a guitar played through keys. One to watch.
Dragged Up, being a supergroup of sorts, throw a range of influences into a big melting pot and aren’t afraid to follow whatever melange of sound comes out. There’s a fair amount of lo-fi skuzz that you might expect from ’90s bands like The Breeders, or a punky tempo reminiscent of Buzzcocks, but also the experimental bent of Wire. Whatever they’re doing, it feels refreshingly original and the overall effect is both catchy and thought-provoking.
Unlike bands that pander to audiences by always delivering the hits, regardless of the stage of their career, No Age have the conviction to focus on their latest output as the main focus of their shows. For this reason, the set tonight is dominated almost exclusively by last year’s ‘People Helping People’. It’s a great album from a band that’s never made a bad one, but playing the instrumental interludes that appear every other song is a bold move for a band known for its (weirdo) rippers.
Randy Randall (guitar) and Dean Spunt (drums, vocals, synths) have always made a hell of a racket for two people, but these new musical avenues show the compositional care they take with their music. The track listing is altered a bit so that the energy isn’t zapped quite so frequently, but there’s a sense that the crowd are waiting for the noisier moments each time Spunt spins around for some more synth tinkering.
Some older songs appear later in the set, and the duo get a little chattier with Randall explaining how Glasgow is the first (and so far only) place he’s had a samosa out of a cardboard box, while Spunt stole some shoes from Clark’s while on tour here about 15 years ago (blame Leeds). ‘War Dance’, ‘Sleeper Hold’ and a seemingly impromptu ‘Send Me’ are all highlights that hit the sweet spot of raucous energy that the band can still deliver in their sleep.
Closer ‘Boy Void’ emphasises the point and makes you wonder what a set drawn from a broader range of albums might look like (pretty excellent), but you have to respect a band that’s always done it on their own DIY terms, and have sounded great doing it for almost 20 years.