It’s great when a local band make a good go of it and find themselves reaping the rewards. That’s exactly the case when looking back at Megalomatic’s Two Year Anniversary show in Stereo last Thursday evening alongside fellow Scots Mantis Toboggan and Twin Heart as well as lovable Mancs, Peur.
Unfortunately, I arrived a little too late to see the full Mantis Toboggan debut set but from what I did catch they looked like a decent unit. Well, as decent as guys dressed in pyjamas and house-coats can look, but you get what I mean. Commanding the stage with the final song of their routine, they brought a fun touch to the start of the night. No doubt I’ll catch them around on the Glasgow gig circuit again, sometime soon.
Twin Heart are a three-piece outfit born from the demise of Musicscramble alumni Mechanical Smile with only Dawn on vocals and Murray on drums surviving from that particular break-up. The sound is very similar to that which we covered in our Mechanical Smile Interview but the dynamics are completely different. Moving on from their previous experiences has been a positive move on the face of it and the live music on show only proves that.
Dawn seems to be grounded and calm between songs, chatting with the crowd and dishing out a wee bit of banter here and there. Then, as if at the flick of a switch, she turns into a completely different creature. One who is able to command the stage and produce a strong, confident vocal while Murray lays down a steady beat on the drums, allowing Owen to flip out at times on the bass. On more than one occasion I was waiting for him to go head first into the intruding support column that occupies the left side of the stage in Stereo.
The only downside to the Twin Heart set came when Dawn announced “this is our last song” – I would’ve stood in front of this band for hours more.
Final support band Peur are a touch of class. They have perfected the art of making things look effortless up on the stage. Even when dealing with pedal board and guitar strap malfunctions, the show just keeps going on. With big healthy chunks of synth interlacing the vibrant and colourful tracks on display we can see an imagery at play in their music. Not just happy to play it safe, these guys introduce looping and multiple guitar and bass effects to create a more full and rounded stage presence.
On top of this, we have a more than capable frontman in Joe Lomax who is a singer in the purest of forms, hitting every note that comes from his mouth. Another plus is that Joe is a fellow ginger and everyone loves a ginger – so there. I find it hard to put a tag on Peur’s musical stylings but if I were to compare I’d have to say there’s a bit of QotSA in there and a heavy dose of Muse.
The heavy bass and drum that produces the thunder over which the lightning jabs of guitar come screaming in make them a fierce live act who demand you stand up and take notice. I’ve no doubt that this is a band who could just end up huge.
Just as I’m thinking this can’t be topped, Megalomatic come strolling out to the stage from within the crowd with weapons in hand. The crowd erupts and it becomes very obvious who they’ve turned up to see. Such is the captivation of this band, the set seems to be over within minutes. From the first little ditty on Craig McKenzie’s Fender guitar to the final kick of – newbie – Jamie Barnes’ bass drum pedal the set is a blur.
When you turn up to see Megalomatic you’re not entirely sure what to expect. Well, you can always expect that Shaun will end up in the crowd, sometimes on his own, wandering around the venue in a musically-induced-trance. Sometimes joined by fellow bandmates, or even all but the drummer – let’s face it, he’s not got much of a choice but to sit tight. This is just one of the reasons why they have such a draw. The other, of course, is their music.
Shaun Williamson’s bass will rattle through you, turning your bones to jelly while leading a rhythm section – including new drummer Jamie Barnes – that is tighter than a Scotsman’s wallet. Ben Reffin on guitar is one syllable away from having the best guitarist name of all time and he’s able to back it up with some nifty work on the axe, laying the foundations for frontman Craig McKenzie to layer his fiddly bits over the top.
With a voice that reminds me of Black Stone Cherry’s Chris Robinson, Craig is able to produce a complimentary snarl and growl to the sound these guys have been tweaking for the past two years. It was obvious that Megalomatic were just as blown away by the response received as we were at viewing their triumphant performance.