June is always an interesting month. Wallets have taken a hammering by the middle of the month as people trudge back from Download. And for every year I’ve attended the festival, the following Tuesday plays host to a gig of some form I go to (with the exception of last year). Then wallets groan once more as all the tours go on sale the same Friday.
This year has been no different, except with the location. Generally it’s been a big gig in the cowshed (SECC) or Hampden. This time, it’s a sold-out Cathouse for We Are Harlot, fresh from their first Download and victorious at the previous night’s Golden Gods. After watching the crowd with some amusement queue to get inside, it was obvious a lot of Asking Alexandria fans were here to see Danny Worsnop. Peppered in the crowd were your average types you see at any rock gig; people out for a good night in Glasgow. And this was one that wasn’t likely to disappoint.
Sadly, I missed the opening band, September Mourning but having watched one of their videos on YouTube, I know they wouldn’t have held my interest. A good fit for supporting We Are Harlot but not my thing. Instead, I was interviewing Jeff George.
Catching up with old friends, I settled in with some water (very rock and roll!) and watched We Are Harlot tear apart the sweatbox that is The Cathouse.
It was obvious from the beginning We Are Harlot have gathered a loyal and passionate fanbase mere months after launching their debut album. I had only heard one song before the album dropped and I was excited to review it. Their balls-out, aggressive, raw rock and roll is my bread and butter.
The music translates well into a live setting and shows how tight the band are as a unit. Danny Worsnop is effortlessly charismatic, excited to be playing in a room he hadn’t been in for six years. Jeff George proves just how great a guitarist he is, playing own material rather than that of someone else. His crunching, gritty riffs pull the audience along on a ride they can’t help but submit to. He also proves that sometimes, you don’t need two guitars.
Imagine if Guns N’ Roses, Heaven’s Basement and AC/DC were thrown in a blender. That’s how it sounds. The entire band pull their weight to create something bigger than any of them are. There’s a sense of polish and professionalism. There’s hunger. There’s energy. It’s a band who clearly want to make a shot of their venture, a band running on the adrenaline of playing a new town.
Given We Are Harlot have one album to their name, we were lucky to hear the vast majority of it live. Possibly the only time such a thing will happen once new material is conceived. As such with a short setlist, it was beefed out with Danny chatting with good humour with the crowd and Jeff also having a chance to talk with us. We were also treated to a stomping cover of “Tie Your Mother Down” and highlighted the gap in generations in the room. The older, die-hard rock fans were going mental at the least-obvious-most-well-known Queen song. The younger portion of crowd dropped things down a gear. Then there’s me, straddling both sides of the fence, my favourite band being covered by up-and-comers. Not an easy song, no Queen song is but they did is justice.
With tracks like “Dirty Little Thing”, “Dancing on Nails”, “Easier to Leave” and “The One”, there’s great energy. The songs speak for themselves to the point I’d have been happy to walk away from the gig without having heard “Tie Your Mother Down”. However, the band managed to find time to drop a gear with the mighty ballad “Someday” to keep things fresh.
Bruno Agra and Brian Weaver combine to make a formidable rhythm section. One that makes you nod your head in time without realising it. There’s a unique power in Agra’s drumming. It’s almost hypnotic. Meanwhile, Weaver’s bass lines hum and throb in the background, staunchly planting their feet in the music.
With a quick encore and that asinine “here we go” chant unique to Glasgow, it rounded off what had been a brilliant week of live music. I’m excited to see what We Are Harlot do next and I know I’ll be waiting for it.