Gig Review: Electric Callboy / As Everything Unfolds / Monuments – O2 Academy, Glasgow (24th October 2023)

As the nights draw in, seemingly every band on the face of the planet seems to creep out of hiding and tour the UK. Our schedules are rammed with more gigs than we can physically get to, but tonight’s package was one I wasn’t missing. I’d heard a lot about the headliners, all of it good, so had this tour in my sights as soon as a Glasgow date was announced.

It was also a chance to finally catch Monuments, who we’ve covered a few times but who I’ve never experienced live. They were already on stage as I entered an absolutely stuffed Academy and managed to squeeze my way to the front. Monuments are heavy. Foundation-shaking heavy. And they headbang like they’re trying to smash their foreheads into the ground. Despite only having a fraction of the stage to work with, Andy Cizek was all over the place and his stagemates were up and down on plinths.

There were definitely a handful of Monuments faithful in the audience, and the band managed to get quite a few folk bouncing. The sound for them was decent, and Cizek’s triple role (growls, screams and clean) was particularly impressive. Even with the really low notes, everything was fairly clear which really helped get the most from their set.

They performed like headliners, and on another night could definitely have filled this position. They’re a band four albums in, who really know how to throw together a good show. While not quite being my kind of music, they’re one I’d definitely recommend.

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A blissfully swift set change and I had my first encounter with As Everything Unfolds, a band in the Spiritbox vein – female fronted, with a mixture of melody and very, very heavy sections. As Everything Unfolds add an electronic layer to their music which does set them out from the pack a bit, and also fits them in with the band they’re supporting tonight. Said electronica came through the mix well, but otherwise they suffered a little from the traditional Academy audio malaise. Charlie Rolfe’s vocals were just too low in the mix for much of the set, and when they finally lifted it was at the expense of Adam Kerr’s guitar. As such a fair bit of the set, from where I was standing at least, was mainly rhythm section with no top end.

This obviously wasn’t affecting everyone, though. As Everything Unfolds picked up where Monuments left off and raised the crowd’s energy levels that bit further. Crowdsurfers started to appear, as well as a small pit towards the end of their set. They did put on a good show, but didn’t pluck at my personal musical heartstrings. I may consider giving them another chance, though… they’re back on tour very early in 2024 – headlining this time – and will return to Glasgow.

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Again, the stage crew worked their magic and barely 20 minutes later (after several hearty sing-songs courtesy of some cracking choices over the PA), the lights dropped and a typically fun intro video pre-empted the appearance of Electric Callboy. Although should I be worried that they issued a “clap test”, probably not the one you think, before the show?

For those who’ve not heard of Electric (née Eskimo) Callboy, their sound is fairly easy to describe. It’s like someone realised that techno and dance music is shit… but saveable. All it needed was the addition of some actual real musicians, not just some dick with an iMac, and a smattering of growled / harsh vocals. Enter a bunch of bonkers Germans with no sense of self respect, a great sense of humour and some annoyingly catchy tunes.

I’ve enjoyed a few of their videos, but not been a big album listener so I only had a basic idea of what to expect from tonight’s show. I was not to be disappointed. With a sold-out crowd buzzing from too much Red Bull, there was no lack of energy at either side of the barricade. The band opened with “Tekkno Train” from las year’s Tekkno album, which featured heavily in the set list. A blitz of colour, lights and paper streamers set us up for what was to continue.

Ninja dancing and spacemen followed, with no slowdown in pace and the crowd was going nuts. This was a special kind of atmosphere, the closest I can compare it to is Wargasm last year. Not your typical metal gig, more like a party. It’s fair to say that every track the band played was a banger, as they kids say. Even the slower numbers, and and the covers of which there were a couple.

Without going through the setlist, there were some definite highlights. “Hypa Hypa” had the audience singing the main riff before the song even started, “Fuckboi” welcomed Charlie Rolfe back onto the stage (with her voice actually audible this time), “Pump It” was just silly, and “We Got The Moves” rounded the show off in the best way possible… leaving the audience hungry for more. A slight failure with the t-shirt cannon at the end (firing one of the sought-after items into the lighting rig) notwithstanding, this was an excellent performance. It’s great when an audience doesn’t just watch a show, but becomes a part of it. Electric Callboy put on the kind of show you can’t help but be drawn into.

Header image by Bracken Hake

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