Manifold / Black King Cobra / Mantis Toboggan / Magic Trik – O2 ABC2, Glasgow (8th September 2017)

Friday night, four great bands and for the price of a pint (well, not far off it, especially in tonight’s venue). Even if there was only one band you liked, value for money on the entry fee was undeniable.

Never an easy task to be the first band on a night like this and add in an early door time to catch people out, Magic Trik take the sparsely populated venue in their stride. Battering through their set with aplomb, their Wolfmother-on-steroids sound goes over well. Throw in an extended version of “Voodoo Child” and you should be onto a winner. However, having seen them in the past, something felt off about them and definitely wasn’t representative of them at their best. Give them their credit when due, when they’re good, they’re damn good.

Coming on stage in Hawaiian shirts and Batman jammies (and to be fair, if I had Batman jammies I’d wear them at every opportunity), Mantis Toboggan show you can play good music and have fun. Too heavy to be rock and too tame for metal, Mantis Toboggan are simply Mantis Toboggan. With two attendees invited on stage for an air guitar battle, a cardboard cutout of Julia Roberts getting more than she bargained for and the reading of a passage from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography (complete with accent), they made sure people were smiling. Add in the fact they’re a quality live act, anyone who missed them should be kicking themselves.

Up next were Black King Cobra (also known as the best find of Wildfire this year), they underpin their unique hard rock with funk and groove. Battling technical difficulties, they can’t apologise enough and are determined not to let it deter them. Quite the opposite, in fact, they rise to the challenge and put in the best set I’ve seen from these guys yet. Showcasing a new song at the end, it’s something a bit different but it works. Loaded with passion and energy from start to finish, there’s a definite feeling of them stepping things up a notch on what was already a brilliant live set. With the number of quality rock bands in Glasgow right now, you’d be hard-pressed to find an equal number in terms of quality or quantity elsewhere in the UK. There’s definitely something special about this band.

As Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” is fed through the PA, Manifold amble onto the stage and hammer through their set, comprised of songs from their newly released EP, The Promised Land, a completely brand new song and material from before John Gunn’s time in the band. Having immensely enjoyed their EP, it was only fair to see how it translated in a live setting. It’s even better in a live format.

Hard rock with a sleaze and glam slant with just a hint of NWOBHM works wonderfully when played in front of a crowd. In-between song banter from the aforementioned Gunn is effortless and towards the end of the set proved what I said in the EP review: he does “Whole Lotta Rosie” far better than Axl Rose could wish to. And rightly so, there was the appropriate chants of “Angus!” at the right moments.

Between the five of them, they make full use of the stage with bassist JB Storm and guitarists Ewan Driver and Darren Mahoney constantly moving about. And not forgetting powerhouse drummer Rucka Russell. Such is his prowess on the drum stool, it was like he was front and centre with the rest of the band. From the minute they hit the stage, it was evident they’d been working hard on tonight’s set to deliver a great show and continued and build on the momentum created by the preceding bands.

With a strong turnout in tow with some great acts, it’s proof that Glasgow’s local scene is currently booming. And if anything, it’s further proof that you don’t need to break the bank to see some quality music. Long may it continue.

Manifold: facebook | twitter | instagram

Black King Cobra: facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube | bandcamp

Mantis Toboggan: facebook | bandcamp

Magic Trik: facebook | twitter | soundcloud

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