Great venue, great line-up, less than a tenner a ticket, daughter having to fib about her age to get in… all the makings of a great night’s entertainment and it didn’t disappoint.
We made it in early enough, despite the lengthy queue, to catch the start of The Hype Theory’s set. Not a band I’d heard of before and, after a chat with front-lady Katy after the show, I found out they’ve been going for around four years.
It shows in their stage presence and ability to get a crowd bouncing, even singing along with their final song. Hey, everyone loves a good “wo-oh-ah-oh”.
Musically they’re quite middle-of-the-road in a pop/rock kind of fashion, but they’re fun. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the key word for this evening. Katy mistakenly said she was handing over to Suburban Legends, but she may not have been aware that we were in for a ten-minute, two song assault from…
Mario and the Brick-breakers! Billed on the set times list downstairs as “Mingsters”, the Patent Pending guys stormed on in a variety of mushroom-themed costumery to regale us with two ditties from their recent Mario-themed spin-off EP. Despite some sound problems at the start, they ploughed through their own minuscule support slot, made all the better for being unexpected.
So, erm, if you’re catching them later on in the tour… sorry.
Frankly, this could have been a co-headlining tour. Suburban Legends and Patent Pending both rate as two of the most enjoyable live acts I’ve seen in years.
Suburban Legends honed their act after countless acts playing at Downtown Disney in California. As a result, their set is peppered with Disney classic tracks with a ska slant, and they’ve got a great line in dance moves. Audience participation is also ensured. It’s hard not to with a guitarist walking around on the dance floor.
Generally speaking, they’re a slick act able to power through a great variety of bouncy tracks while looking as good as they sound. All the choreography of a boy band with a million times more actual talent.
The crowd were already nicely warmed up by The Hype Theory, but SL didn’t leave anything to chance demanding that we all high five the nearest person we didn’t know before launching into the obviously-titled “High Fives”.
There’s something to be said for taking guitar, drum and bass and adding a brass section. Making those musicians as mobile as the guy with the microphone – regardless of the size (or lack of) of stage – takes a lot of skill and the rewards are a wonderfully entertaining act. Full marks to touring trumpetist (trumpeter? trumpeteer?) Chris, who learned the whole set in about 6 days.
Half an hour just isn’t enough for these guys, so without a doubt they left the crowd wanting more. I loved them along the road at Broadcast in April when they played a much longer set and the word from Vince is that they’re hoping to be back over in Spring. Fingers crossed it’s a headliner!
Mind, you can’t complain when they’re leaving the stage to make way for New York’s Patent Pending.
Where SL are the polished Disney Act, Patent Pending are like the brother who’s grown up on the other side of town, hanging with the rough kids. As a result, he’s developed a coarser sense of humour and knows how to get people to like him. Every bit as much fun, and a great companion act to their west coast tour buddies.
Frontman Joe is about as mad as they come. The usual “swimming contest” reserved for later in the show was dispensed with – likely due to time constraints – and instead the muscled madman found himself up on the sound booth and swimming over the heads of the crowd before the opening chords of “Psycho in Love” had died away.
The between-song banter is genuinely funny and the band don’t take themselves anywhere near as seriously as they do their music. What they do take seriously is the issue of suicide and depression, something that’s touched them personally. Given their target audience of the late teen / early twenties crowd, this is almost certainly going to affect some of them too in one way or another. Their once-per-gig message to people to recognise that there is always someone to communicate your issues to is well phrased, not preachy and spoken from the heart. It also makes you pay attention to the lyrics a bit more, such as Brighter, the title track of the current album and one of the encore songs.
Sensible messages aside, we were deluged with “success poses”, what the band want to eat after the show and the standard Glasgow “Here we, here we, here we fucking go” chant being introduced by the band before the crowd snuck it in. I honestly think they’re the first band I’ve ever seen who beat the crowd to the punch on that one.
At a shade over an hour, it was far too short a set – and that’s my only complaint. However, the overall amount of entertainment and the ache on my face from grinning all night says that’s a pretty small issue.
Two superb bands on the top of their game, and a more than capable opening act, for less than ten quid. I don’t think I’ll find another evening’s entertainment with that level of value for money this year. The band have quite a few dates left on the European tour, so if you’ve not seen them before I urge you to grab tickets while you can – several shows are already sold out!
Oh, and just to increase the kudos even more – Joe saw my GWAR t-shirt when my daughter was having her photo taken with him. We high-fived for Dave Brockie. There was a guy who knew how to make every day a party. It’s no wonder Patent Pending love GWAR!