Sometimes you just have to go to a gig and when I received an invite from The Idol Dead’s KC to attend their end-of-tour finalé in Glasgow, that was one of those times. I first caught the band at Wildfire a couple of years ago and they were a definite highlight of an (as usual) strong line-up. One check of a video to remind me of their energy and style and, yup, mark made in calendar.
My first visit to Sleazy’s reminded me of its next-door neighbour Broadcast. A subterranean cavern with a small stage at the front, but this one’s definitely a bit less cramped with a higher ceiling. The first band of the night were Edinburgh new boys Rocketflaire, playing their fifth gig and their first outside of the capital. They bill themselves as a “pop-punk/alternative rock quartet” and their bouncy nature definitely fits in with the former category.
The least physically active group of the night, this didn’t hold back from them chucking out some great riffs and beats, and they definitely brought some fans with them. I was genuinely surprised and gladdened to see so many faces in the venue for the opening band – a crowd they richly deserved based on the quality of their set. Personally, I’d pick “The Real Me” as the best of the songs played, though heavy number “Rattlesnake” at the end shook the rafters (dangerous in an underground venue) too!
PowderKeg were next on stage, featuring the headliner’s KC filling in on bass. KC fitted in perfectly, playing the whole set lampooning and grinning like a local support band member who’d been dragged on stage and asked to play a song with Iron Maiden or something. His energy fitted with the rest of the band who were in constant motion (but still weren’t the most energetic band of the evening…).
Drummer Androo remarked to me later in the evening that “it’s bloody hot in there”, which isn’t surprising given how hard he was pounding those skins! It was constantly dancing lead singer Jen and spinning guitarist Brian who were in near-permanent motion. If she wasn’t singing (and sometimes while she was), Jen was wiggling her hips and stamping her feet. Brian was running in circles so much he was making me dizzy.
They’re from Glasgow so no surprise that they had plenty of home support in the house as they belted out some great rock tracks. For a newcomer there’s nothing better for getting you into a live band than seeing people who are already passionate about them. Check out their video for “Make Up Your Mind” for an idea of their feather boa-bedecked punk rock.
By a process of elimination you should have worked out by now that tonight’s headliners The Idol Dead were the most mobile of the night. Bedecked, mostly, in their trademark black and lime green, their excitement and humour completely took over the crowd. Barefoot and with painted toenails (the things you notice from the side of the stage), singer Polly spent half the gig stood atop the monitors, or leaning into the crowd. KC, back on six strings, was no less energetic and when unleashed for one track as he swapped roles with Polly was probably even more invasive of the crowd’s personal space than the regular frontman!
Nish may be pushed to the back of the small stage, but should not be forgotten as this powerhouse kept everyone in time as well as joining in vocal duties throughout. It may be because I’ve just read Gunnar Hansen’s book about the making of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but bassist Dan reminded me of Leatherface as he ambled about the stage, keeping the rhythm in check. I didn’t see too much of Tim as he was stage right, but from what I could tell, his permanent grin would have put The Joker to shame.
The Idol Dead have something special about them. I think it’s just the way they channel energy into a crowd. Their songs vary from good to bloody great, but it’s the fact that they just don’t stop. They convince the crowd to have a good time, but don’t need to force them to do so. The “move closer to the stage” at the start of the set was barely necessary as the fans had already crept nearer than they had for the support, and Polly/KC had no problem finding people to shove the microphone at the join them in singing the lyrics at the right time.
Guest appearances from PowderKeg’s Brian and Jen filled up an already crammed stage and this turned from a wild set into a party by the end. I did manage to stay right to the final track of their pretend encore (they skipped the leaving stage / coming back on bit), but had to leg it as the final notes faded so didn’t get to say thank you to the band both for their invitation and for the great night’s entertainment. So I’ll do it now – thank you!
Photos by Iain Purdie