Royal Republic – The Garage, Glasgow – 30/03/17

Some gigs have a bit of everything; music, banter, interludes, and on occasion a little heterosexual man on man action.

But before things get hot and steamy we’re treated to Tax the Heat who make up for the terrible name and hipster chic by quite simply being really good. They’re a perfect opener for Royal Republic in that they have a similar enough musical style and just enough gumption to get the audience alert without out-staying their welcome in the support slot. They’re returning to Glasgow mid-April and by the show of hands when asked who’s coming, expect Nice n Sleazy to be a busy place.

The headliners take to the stage around 8:30 bedecked in black suits, white shirts, and sporting perfectly lacquered hair. The guys look strangely like stand-ins for Johnny Depp in his Sausage (sic) ads, a young Mike Patton, and UFC hard man Conor McGregor if he had a wash. It’s too dark to properly make out the drummer though he does get a bit of front of house time later. Bursting straight into single ‘When I See You Dance with Another’ it’s fair to say they put as much passion into their art as their doppelgänger’ do.

They’re a raucous bunch are Royal Republic, full of charm, smiles, and bursting with character. Singer and guitarist Adam always has a little twinkle in his eye like he knows something you don’t and basks in the adulation from the crowd, posing frequently for pictures without ever dropping a note.

The band plough through the hits with the odd stop filled with jovial banter. Most of the time when there’s space for a band to chat I find myself thinking they could’ve fit more songs in but the amiable frontman’s allure as a storyteller is almost tangible as the crowd hangs on his every word. He chats away telling silly stories, tales behind some of the songs, and notably how a spur-of-the-moment kiss on the Rock am Ring Main Stage led to one imaginative fan turning it into erotic fiction.

As an improperly tuned acoustic guitar is promptly re-tuned, drummer Per makes his way to the front to take his place alongside guitarist Hannes as he puts his instrument down and they both supply backing vocals for the next part. Unbeknownst to me the band have an entertaining side-line in the form of a cover band of themselves overhauling songs in a stripped back, almost polka style. After a comical sampler of ‘Baby’ they get into the song they meant to play, ‘Addictive’ which goes down an absolute treat with its hilarious chorus.

A few more rockin’ tunes and the first part of the show comes to a great end as ‘Tommy Gun’ gets a Glaswegian remix of a sort, the crowd adding the customary “Here we, here we, here fucking go” chant as the song slows before its planned crescendo. It seems to take the band by surprise yet they take it in their stride and integrate it nicely into the song. It goes on a little too long until Adam eventually cuts it off having no choice but to simply resume the song regardless.

A quick break and we’re treated to a generous five song encore culminating as ever with ‘Full Steam Space Machine’ which sees the mano-a-mano kiss cheekily replicated, then everyone heads off home thoroughly entertained. It might have only been October since they played in the city last, but they’re welcome back any time. Maybe leave the dirty books at home though chaps.

Photos: Gareth Fraser at 3rd Mile

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