Although not set up as such, tonight was a bit of a showcase for local Glasgow bands of varying ages and sounds with a crowd that appeared to be mostly made up of friends and family of the bands. Though all music stemmed from the rock garage, it was quite a mixture of generations, sounds and most notably, ability.
Opening were Revolution Reload, a junior three piece who seemed like they’re just learning the ropes. Musically they need practice and to decide on a particular sound. There was an uncomfortable mix of emo, pop-punk and electronica which didn’t sound particularly good and the singers’ voice was particularly poor which really didn’t help. Worst of all, they committed what I can only call a cardinal sin by covering Billy Idol’s classic “Rebel Yell”. Insulting the crowd for 4 minutes or so, they failed to even play parts of it, slowed some of it down and threw in some weird electronic noises here and there. Don’t do that again boys, for your own welfare. Safe to say, don’t give up your paper rounds yet.
Next up was a treat in the form of The Puzzlers. A considerably older bunch, I sincerely hope Revolution Reload stuck around to hear how things should be done because they could learn a thing or two about simple musical things like rhythm and melody. Catchy pop-rock with a proper old school feel was on the cards here with a sound that was a mix of The Clash, The Jam, The Beatles, The Ramones, The Buzzcocks and probably a few more The’s I’ve forgotten.
The songs had good hooks and were well structured with opportunities for a solo here and there, although the guitar volume was a little low so the solo work didn’t stand out. Interestingly guitar and bass players swapped instruments for the last two tracks which led to a nice harmonica accompaniment the the penultimate song and some fast finger bass on the final one. There’s a pure entertainment value to The Puzzlers that would have anyone enjoying their throwback to a golden age sound. As far as good clean entertainment goes, you can’t ask for much more and I’d see them again for sure.
The third act dropped the entertainment value though. Graceless Age failed to engage, sounding quite bland with a strangely high pitched vocalist with no range to his voice at all who looked really quite uncomfortable on the stage. He was wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt which might indicate the sort of sound they were going for, but where Pink Floyd could do long hypnotising wibbly-wobbliness and keep you enthralled, Graceless Age’s attempts at such were just bland. Long drawn out pseudo-prog is a very difficult thing to capture and I grant you sometimes you just have to be in the zone, but they failed to draw me in at all. They weren’t bad per se, just not particularly exciting but did kill the mood generated by the previous band.
But highlight of the night went to headliners Trigger The Escape. Back to the junior division with a younger line up again, these boys were tight, confident, and played well to a crowd who were really up for listening even if they may have been there for one of the other bands. Vocal duties were swapped between some songs with the second guitarist taking over when the lead vocalist had some throat problems. Unfortunately this meant I didn’t get to hear much of the vocal harmonies that should’ve been there. What I did hear of the main vocal though, there was a heavy Scottish accent which instantly made me think of Twin Atlantic and their overall sound reinforced that initial thought, though they also contained elements of Lost Prophets with a healthy dose of Biffy Clyro. The introduction to the third track in particular could have been a Lost Prophets song itself before changing into something more unique.
Most importantly though, all the songs were laden with great hooks and a comfortable predictability that didn’t bore, but rather connected and drew me into the songs as I could feel where the breaks and fills could come and could toe-tap along with ease. I’m pretty sure that all bands on the bill tonight played for around the same amount of time, but when Trigger finished I was left thinking “is that all?” as time felt like it had passed so quickly. But a band I’ve never seen before leaving me wanting to hear more is always welcome, especially when my first experience is at a live show that hasn’t quite gone to plan.
Based on tonight, even with the vocal problems Trigger The Escape should manage some success. Scottish bands and other regional accents are riding high in the pop-rock scene right now and hopefully these boys will be swept along on that wave of success being enjoyed by the likes of Twin Atlantic. As a launch pad they’d make a perfect support band for them and although it’s probably too late for the current tour (TA hit Glasgow Dec 10th), but with a push in the right direction and a little luck I’d wager we’ll be seeing more of them in the future.
So a bit of a 50/50 result, but in the end I came out of the venue with a smile and two notable winners I’ll be following in future.
All photographs courtesy and © Vikki McCraw