Thursday night was one of those nights in Glasgow. Where you could have been at several different venues to see some great quality bands. At the O2 ABC, there was the double-header of Black Star Riders and Europe supported by local band the Amorettes, the Cathouse was playing host to the Cadillac Three (I’ll see them next time) and Ivory Blacks was hosting some local bands. Spoiled for choice.
I opted for the local bands. Mainly because I don’t know the local scene too well. I’m all for new bands but I don’t really care where they come from and the few local bands I’ve seen are awful. With the exception of Christie Connor-Vernal. I’m also a fan of Glasgow’s New Hellfire Club and what they stand for. I’d tell you but I’d butcher it; check them out for yourselves!
First up on Thursday were Jokerface, a local three-piece. Playing loud, brash rock and roll with a punk edge to them. Rattling through a forty-five minute set, it made for an enjoyable time. I’m not big on punk, there’s only a handful of bands I like and even then, some of them you could argue are even punk. But Jokerface won me over and got a great reception from the crowd. Mick Aitken on vocals and guitar made for an amusing frontman, playing some well-crafted punk riffs. As for Dave McLaughlin and Mark Houston on bass and drums respectively, they gave us some solid rhythms and had me nodding along before they were done.
Suitably impressed by Jokerface; I was astounded at the talent on show from just one band. And if that was the level of talent the entire weekend, it was going to be a good one. Straight forward hard rock in the form of Soul Remover was next on the agenda. My bread and butter. This was a blink and miss set; over before you had the chance to realise it. Even better than Jokerface. Inspired by the likes of Snakepit, AC/DC, Saxon, Black Sabbath, it was one of the high points in a fantastic weekend. During one point, the band stripped things back with a short song, laden with grunge influences. It broke up the pace a little, not outstaying its welcome and it was back to business as normal.
With Soul Remover finishing and receiving a great response, it was the turn of Sacrilege. As a NWOBHM band, things just got heavier which was fine by me. If Black Sabbath and Judas Priest combined into one unit, this is end result. Grinding riffs with the ominous presence to make for an enjoyable finale. I’m told the full stage show has pyro but unfortunately we didn’t get that (more than likely the venue’s doing) and instead were given some lights in the shape of flames but it still had the same effect. Sadly I missed the last few songs from Sacrilege due to trains but it was enough to get an impression. Another great band on the night and for only £6, far better value for money than some of the big names out there.
Friday night was given over to Halestorm so I sadly couldn’t make it out for any bands then but Saturday had me in a new place; 13th Note. Now, you wouldn’t normally catch me in a vegetarian/vegan place. Mainly because I’m an orthodox bacon-ist and I don’t have a hipster beard or moustache. Thankfully the bands were playing downstairs where people looked a bit more normal. First up was Rank Berry who came highly recommended. After one song, I could see why. Some more straightforward rock and roll from a four-piece. After Thursday, the bar had been set pretty high but Rank Berry took the bar and shattered it. A few songs in and Brian Kerr on lead guitar had be enraptured. The Appetite for Destruction tattoo, the Les Paul, the way he moved about the stage and the playing itself; a player very much inspired by Slash. Well, if you’re going to learn, learn from the best. They’re playing today in the New Hellfire Club’s shop with an acoustic show alongside Static Rock so you’ll find me there.
Next up were the Henchmen, playing some garage punk and filling the venue to borderline capacity. Not my sort of thing but like the rest of the bands over the weekend, you couldn’t deny the quality of the band and with the following they brought, they must be doing something right. Even by the end of their set, I had warmed up to them. But when you play Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, you’ll win anyone over to your side. With the Henchmen finished, it was time to head for home once more because of ScotRail’s wonderful schedule.
So there you have it, five bands over two nights. Each night being £6; so that’s £2 per band. And for the quality throughout, that was more than a bargain. From what I can gather, there’s a lot of apathy in the local scene. Don’t. AC/DC weren’t always big; they started out playing in bars and with exposure got to the top. There are some gems out there. You don’t need to spend £50 at the Hydro to have a great night. I spent a fraction of that to see five bands and had a more enjoyable time than when I saw Muse for the above stated price. Yes, there’s probably a lot of crap in the local scene but like the big names: there’s a lot of crap there too. You don’t have to break the bank, just take the chance. Who knows, you may even enjoy it.
New Hellfire Club Glasgow: