Shock City’s New Blood event is always a must-see when the latest incarnation is announced. Showcasing the best of Glasgow’s up and coming talent, there’s always a high level of quality from every band featured. Much like the other two previous events, there’s a wide variation of bands on the bill to give something for everyone and there’s a sense of friends and family dotted amongst the people who are fans of one of the bands or like me, out to find what else the Glasgow scene has to offer.
There’s a number of scarlet t-shirts in the audience and as the lighting rig paints the stage and backdrop a similar hue, Uproar take to the stage. Fronted by Johnny Hollis (also the singer from last year’s local Metal 2 the Masses winners, Titan Breed), they’re certainly the heaviest band of the night and indeed, likely the heaviest band there’s been at a New Blood night.
Whilst much more lighter than Hollis’ other band and the band is more in line with the hard rock theme of the night, there’s still a metallic edge to them alongside melodic elements. As such with Hollis’ involvement, it’s hard not to draw comparisons between the bands. Uproar are tighter and have a more professional vibe to them. Hollis is the same frontman between bands but his style fits Uproar much better. There’s crowd interaction, chunky riffs and you’ll be nodding your head with their pounding rhythms. Definitely a great discovery to be made.
Taking the stage next are Manifold and with their members more active than Uproar, they looked cramped into the small space. Kicking things off with their recent single “Stop Teasin’” from The Promised Land, they power through some older material before bringing it back with “Killer Touch”. “Derailed” is a newer song with singer John Gunn ad-libbing “I should be able to remember the words”. Despite the crowd which has thinned out slightly – clearly some people were there just for Uproar – the band aren’t put off.
Firing through their set, meeting in the middle ground of where hair metal and NWOBHM intersect, they’re a solid five piece and those who are there to see them, are more than thoroughly entertained. By the time the end of the set comes with “Full Throttle” and “Whole Lotta Rosie”, the idea of staying on the stage is thrown to the wind with guitarist Ewan Driver joining the crowd to practice his Angus duck walk.
Concrete Kingdoms hit the stage last but by no means least. During the changeover, there’s an influx of people and the Hard Rock Café is at its busiest of the night. And once the band get going, it’s obvious why. There’s something about this lot. Whilst not as heavy as openers Uproar, there’s still a gritty, punchy sound to them whilst balancing it with a good dose of melody.
Tight and polished, whilst the other two bands weren’t bad by any stretch, Concrete Kingdoms are simply a cut above. It’s a strong set from the local lads but it’s the final few songs which kick the set into overdrive. “Die This Day”, jokingly introduced as sounding like a Bond theme certainly has the title befitting one of Mr Bond’s films but not much else. Far too raucous and, dare I say it, good (Chris Cornell’s “You Know My Name” aside) for a Bond film. Meanwhile, “Time to Play”, their forthcoming debut single is styled to be the band’s anthem and it works well. An excellent way to close out a set, if not for the interpretations of “Rebel Yell” and “Rockin’ in the Free World”.
It’s a set which passes in a blur and with the hubbub and excitement from the crowd, the latest New Blood event has been another success. Having seen Manifold before, there were only two discoveries for me but both bands are well worth keeping an eye on. As I said in my review of the last one, there’s a wealth of talent coming out of Glasgow’s rock scene and nights like these are brilliant so kudos must go to Shock City once again. On the strength of the previous ones, I didn’t even look at the names playing this time around, I just bought a ticket. It shows the diversity there is in playing rock with each band with their own individual identity and since all three have been so good, I’m looking forward to New Blood IV already.