It’s a sleepy Sunday evening in Glasgow. Everything’s winding down in preparation for the coming week but that’s no excuse to stop the live music in this town. Tonight, it’s a visit to 13th Note, one of the most intimate venues and one you’re instantly reminded of how good it is with every visit. It’s the final night of the “It’s Alright” tour, a celebration of The Frontiers’ new single and with another couple of great acts on the bill, it’s a night not to be missed.
Tonight’s opening band, Ordinary Hero, are already plying their wares by the time I get in and it’s to a fairly sizeable crowd – a good sign for a Sunday night. Taking proceedings in a more melodic route, their alternative sound is a great way to set the tone for the evening. At points it feels more avant-garde than the following bands but by staying within the confines of the overall theme of tonight. There’s still a punchy, punk edge to them and their punky sound packs a massive punch. They’re a tight band and one of the final songs, “One World”, has a meaty bassline to it.
Next up is Phosphenes. Having caught them a couple of times in the past, they’re far more gritty than the other bands. But what is noticeable from the first song to the last, is how much they’ve improved. They’re tighter and more polished than ever. They bring out their Ramones cover once again – props as always for not going for the obvious one. Meanwhile, “Aching” has a great sound to it, full of finessed drums and last year’s single, “Delusions” with hints of Alter Bridge in its guitar tone. Elsewhere, brand new song “Wake Up”, despite being written in the week of the gig, is another brilliant arrow in their quiver and if they hadn’t revealed that titbit about its recent birth you’d never have known.
As they warm up with a couple of recognisable tunes, The Frontiers bring an incredible energy to their performance as they all bounce across the tiny stage. It’s another tight set from the quartet and a sure sign of them upping their game since last time with much of the set being upbeat numbers. Even “My Way”, declared to be a slower song is still bouncy and fast-paced. A cover of “My Generation” has the crowd singing along and gives them a chance to tap into their mod/British Invasion influences and their “wee hillbilly song”, “Wonder Why”, shows the other end of their influences. However, it’s the closing song, “It’s Alright”, itself which gets the crowd moving and shows the blend of all their influences into their own sound. Full of punk sneer, indie simplicity and late 60s groove, it’s ridiculously catchy and a perfect end to their set.
Better Halves have a calmer and more laid back sound but there’s still plenty of energy in their performance. More dreamy and with hints of psychedelic influences in their music, after the high-charged set of The Frontiers, it’s a great way to bring people back down to Earth. There’s a couple of covers thrown in for good measure and “Free Fallin’” takes Tom Petty’s classic in a new direction. If you weren’t aware of him, you’d swear it was an original. Much like the preceding bands, they’re a tight outfit and end the evening on a high, leaving the crowd wanting more.
Nights like these are always a great reminder of how you don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of money to see some great live bands. With the venue busy the entire night, the crowd engaged and the bands hanging around to watch the other acts on the line-up, it’s another great night from Pig Chop Promotions and I’m sure the next one will be just as good.
Header image by Becca Don
Ordinary Hero: facebook