King Khan and the Shrines, Uncle Big Bad, Jack of Heart, Black Rat Death Squad live at Stereo in Glasgow
The place is Stereo and Sunday is the night. Things didn't really get off to a good start. I arrived on time but was left waiting about for an hour due to some sort of delay and I ended up getting a spot next to a sink that stunk. Even worse, I was charged the outrageous price of £3 for a diet coke! I was also stared down by some homeless looking guy for like 10 minutes. So I was left hoping that the music would offer some sort of consolation.
First band on was Uncle Big Bad, a local 7 piece that were pretty good. Their lead singer Ross has strong vocals and has no problem hitting high notes when called upon. They played a few tracks a couple of which were catchy, most notably "Give Me Some Time" which again featured a very good vocal performance. There is no doubt this band has talent and, although a tad poppy for my taste, I still thoroughly enjoyed their performance. Definitely look out for this lot.
Next up were the Black Rat Death Squad who were, in one word, awful. I genuinely couldn't understand a word that was sung and all their songs sounded the same. It was terrible. Sometimes, the bands with bad vocals compensate with decent instrumental skills but not this band. Their sound was just total distortion - it made me want to hit something i.e. my head against a wall. They are honestly the worst band I have seen live.
Following them was Jack of Heart, a French band would you believe. They weren't much better as their set consisted of random barking and shouting through their songs coupled with distorted guitar. I got the feeling they were trying to imitate the Libertines, but to no avail. Their final song was just straight up barking and guitar distortion. It sounded like a bad day in Bosnia. It was just loud noise which seemed to have no point.
I was hoping that the night would improve with King Khan & The Shrines and it most certainly did. This was the first time I had heard King Khan but I had read about him so I was actually looking forward to their performance. In keeping up with the king image he came out in a big feather crown and a leopard print jacket. Needless to say, I liked them from the off. The band's performance was energetic and very enjoyable. Their music is an excellent blend of 60's soul vocals with funky sharp guitar and a small horn section that compliments the other musical elements of the band. They played tracks such as "Pick'n up the Trash" and "I Wanna Be A Girl" to which King Khan proclaimed to dance "the tuck" whatever that is. They also played a new unreleased track which was written on their current tour called "Yes I Can't" that, along with the rest of their set, was really good featuring plucky bass and screeching vocals along with some trademark sharp guitar. The most eventful part of the act was a song called "Shivers Down My Spine" when Khan started talking and laughing like Vincent Price. It was a haunting number with a droning keyboard solo laced with Khans spooky cackles.
All in all it was a pretty good gig with the only real drawbacks being two of the support being rubbish but still, 2 out of 4 ain't bad. On my walk back to the car, I take in many of the great sights of Glasgow - one guy raiding a bin, a cardboard box shelter and a Rangers fan with a Hamburg flag. Now, who ever said Glasgow doesn't have class?
October 4, 2009
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