Devilskin’s first trip to Glasgow was cut short a couple of years back when they toured with Skarlett Riot on account of vocalist Jennie Skulander suffering vocals issues whilst their following appearance, last year, saw me missing it due to the recent trend of as many bands as possible descending on UK audiences in March. So, third time lucky, right?
Even then, getting to Glasgow’s Cathouse wasn’t without incident so I missed local lads, Uproar, take to the stage. By the time I got in, their set was well under way and had drawn a lot of people in already with numerous red Uproar shirts dotted about the crowd. Introducing themselves as “We’re Uproar. We’re from…just up the road,” gains a few chuckles before they power through the remainder of their set. Having caught them earlier this year, they’ve become an even more formidable live act, straddling the line of hard rock and metal. There’s plenty of moments for you to nod your head to and whilst I’ve not listened to them since Shock City’s New Blood III night, what I was able to catch was instantly familiar so they must be doing something right.
Having caught The Fallen State before, I knew what I was expecting. Up to a point, at least. Much like their recent trip here, supporting Tremonti, they act as an excellent bridge between the openers and the headliners. However, whilst they weren’t bad last time around, they’ve clearly upped their game, and dare I say it, obviously more comfortable playing in a dingy rock club. They batter through their hard rock set with finesse, style and energy, working the crowd with ease as they rattle through their existing catalogue and a sprinkling of songs due for release in 2019. In the last few months, they’ve become a lot tighter and with their set passing in a blur, it feels like they’ve been on stage for a fraction of their allotted time.
Devilskin battle their way through initial technical problems for the first couple of songs but take it in their stride before everything balances itself out. That aside, they deliver a flawless set and despite the tight curfew placed on them, still manage to find time to chat with the crowd and thank them for coming out. As they lean on their two albums, some of the highlights are “Elvis Presley Circle Pit”, “Little Pills” and “Start a Revolution”. Elsewhere, there’s Skulander’s ode to her departed friend in “Never See the Light” and her own struggles with endometriosis in the form of recent single, “Endo”. Meanwhile, the second album is well-represented with songs like “Pray” and “Mountains”.
Whilst the second album was a little flat compared to the debut, the songs work well in a live setting and regardless of which corner of the catalogue they pull from, the crowd are more than willing to engage with it. However, one of the highlights has to be when you hear that bassline from Heart’s “Barracuda” and they deliver a faithful cover of it whilst still putting the Devilskin stamp on it.
After having supported Halestorm in mainland Europe and tonight being show thirty of their run, it’s evident that the band are well into “tour mode” as they batter through their set as one of the tightest live bands you can see. The depth and texture in the music is one of their most compelling elements with a “what you see is what you get approach” with the albums translating excellently into a live environment and at no point does Nail need an extra guitarist to bounce off. Instead, his massive riffs have room to breathe, full of technicality and ignoring the chance to be simply flashy. Meanwhile, bassist Paul delivers equally massive lines as they rumble and click with drummer Nic. Between the three of them, they work excellently as a unit, the camaraderie between all of them is almost like a fifth member onstage, such is its presence.
I don’t say this often about bands because more often than not, it’s simply a false statement but it’s applicable to Devilskin: they should be massive. Sure, the rooms they’re playing on this current run are their biggest to date and whilst I’ve seen the Cathouse busier (Blackberry Smoke were also in town so it likely had an impact), the band weren’t deterred and I like everyone else in the room, knew I made the right choice of who to see that night.
Photos by Gary Cooper