Issues / Hacktivist / Astroid Boys – Glasgow Garage, 27th May 2016

There was a real mix of nervousness and excitement for this gig. Nervous because pre-gig  was going to be my first ever face to face interview for the Moshville Times. I shouldn’t have worried though, as the guys from Hacktivist were lovely. The excitement stemmed from the fact that it was going to be my first time seeing all three bands on the line up, always a really cool feeling.

I arrived at the venue super early, notepad in hand and it was at this point I wished I actually had a microphone in hand so I looked more ‘journalistic’ and less geekish schoolboy but I figured with my size no one was going to say anything anyway! Interview done and dusted, backpack and phone checked into the cloakroom, I headed upstairs and was able to catch the last couple of songs of Astroid Boys’ set.

I was pleased to see the party was already well and truly underway in terms of the energy in the crowd. I was less pleased to see that the pit that had started was being dominated by my least favourite people in the world, yep you guessed it. CROWD KILLERS! For their safety I stuck to the sidelines at this point and quietly enjoyed AB’s front man, Benji Wild giving Glasgow a healthy dose of guitar infused Welsh Hip Hop.

It’s always tough for an opening band and AB’s set was made slightly tougher by the fact that not everybody in the crowd was digging their style but when you have 95% of the crowd on side you’re not going to be worried about a small percentage of zealots who are giving you the finger because “It’s not metal”. Exiting stage to KRS’s “Sound Of Da Police” which had almost everybody (Including Me!) Whooping and pumping their arms up and down to the music, Astroid Boys left safe in the knowledge that they had gained some more fans. Given the opportunity, I would go see them again.

Hacktivist Glasgow 2016 (1)
Hacktivist (c) Roisin Stewart

My excitement was at its peak at this point as next up were the mighty Milton Keynes machine, Hacktivist – a band that I had been itching to see live especially since I reviewed their first album release “Outside The Box” some months earlier. In that review I maintained that I wouldn’t fully judge the band until I had seen them play live. Sadly, my first experience of Hacktivist was going to be a real mix of happiness and disappointment. I should add that the disappointment part stems purely from the crowd and had nothing to do with the band.

Ben, J, Timfy, Richard and Josh were all a joy to watch and were all clearly very excited to be back in Glasgow, it’s a shame a big proportion of the crowd didn’t seem to share myself or the band’s enthusiasm. This could be attributed to what would appear to be somewhat average ticket sales for the gig (I found out afterwards that Australia’s Hands Like Houses were playing The Cathouse the same night, maybe a contributing factor). This resulted in a big void in the middle of the dancefloor which annoyingly gave the Kung Fu artists too much room to play and I wasn’t able to rally enough willing pit soldiers to overwhelm them and edge them out.

This meant myself and many other people spent the set watching the band with eyes on the back of our heads, waiting for a superman punch or a fly kick to the napper to appear out of nowhere. Seriously, why can’t these twats just F**K OFF! As a consolation I thought I can at least assist with the crowd surfing but even that was a real challenge thanks to some people in the first three rows who didn’t seem to understand that when somebody surfs you hold them up and pass them over to security. They shunned a sense of teamwork and instead opted to just drop anybody who surfed anywhere near them. From that point on anybody who asked to go up, I passed straight into the arms of Dumbo and his M.A.D crew.

I had a few choice words with the front rows after Hacktivists set regarding gig etiquette.With their truly unique sound Hacktivist are one of the most exciting bands I’ve seen live for a while and despite the lacklustre Glasgow crowd I was reassured in the knowledge that I was hopefully going to see them again the day after at Slam Dunk North in Leeds. Please read my review of that for a slightly more comprehensive breakdown of the band’s set.

Feeling somewhat disheartened by the crowd, I decided to sweet talk security staff and the promoter who is a friend of mine and I was allowed to retreat to the balcony for the rest of the gig. My plan was to observe from there and see how the crowd activity was for Issues and depending on that make a decision whether to get back in the middle or not. It pains me to say, it really does, but I never made it off the balcony.

Issues Glasgow 2016
Issues (c) Roisin Stewart

Bouncing out on stage to ‘Coma’ the band certainly didn’t lack energy and the crowd seemed to be waking up a bit more especially when dual vocalists Tyler and Michael walked out and quickly got everybody singing. With their vocal style you could almost be forgiven into thinking you were watching a more aggressive version of noughties boyband, N Sync… that is until Michael showcases his impressive growls backed up by guitarist AJ and bassist Skyler, two of the most dizzying headbangers I’ve ever seen.

Despite there being more energy in the room at this point there was still a big gap on the dance floor, under siege from a bunch of Chuck Norris tribute acts. You’ve no idea how tempting it was to belly flop of the balcony and take them all out in one go. Contemplating the potential effects on the environment should I choose to do I that I decided against it. Another minus point about Issues’ set was that Synthesiser Ty Accord (DJ Scout) was not on stage with them. The live footage I saw of Issues on YouTube with DJ Scout still playing with the band had an even more unique dynamic added to the music that you don’t get with many other bands in the metal scene as a whole but when I read up his reasons for leaving the band I completely understood why he left. There is never any sense in continuing to do something that makes you really unhappy.

Highlights of the show for me personally would be ‘Life Of A Nine’ and ‘Sad Ghost’ as they produced the biggest crowd reactions in terms of the amount of crowd surfing and pogoing. It appeared the quiet word I had with the front rows after Hacktivist had finished had done the trick as they were being a lot more co operative when passing the surfers over the barrier, meaning nobody else was getting dropped, happy days!

After a fourteen song set, Issues finished with a two song encore of  ‘Mad At Myself’ and ‘Hooligans’. Before leaving the stage they reminded all their diehard Glasgow fans that they would be doing a DJ set at The Cathouse post gig, it’s just a pity that a big chunk of the audience didn’t actually look old enough to get in there. Been as I’m legally recognised as an adult (behaviour doesn’t usually reflect as such) I decided to go to the after party and I had an absolute blast with all three bands. Perfect warm-up for Slam Dunk North in the morning!

All photos by Roisin Stewart

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