Live review: King Tut’s Summer Nights with Alarm Bells, Axes, Vasa, Bellow Below, 21/7/13

564837_386100491429267_175689036_nFailing to comply with the first rule of concert reviewing – that of always being on time – I am five minutes late sprinting up the stairs to King Tut’s drenched in my own sweat and without any sort of protection against the massive wall of distorted noise that is about to greet my naked ears.

I’ve walked right into a tinnitus fest, and it is an absolute shindig of musical talent, ardour and fresh, exciting ideas.

Opening act Bellow Below is like what some types of heavy metal would sound like if they’d been made for dancing to.

In the midst of the blast and the racket are the sweetest little melodies performed by a band with an unreserved pleasure of playing.

Ears are blissfully whistling along.

The little signs warning of the consequences of crowd surfing – in spite of the multitude of potential for headbanging et cetera – are obviously needless tonight as everyone in the venue is here to thoroughly soak in the soundwaves.

Next band to take to the stage is hyped local four piece Vasa with their heavy instrumental soundscape reminiscent of legendary heros Mogwai, balancing the beautiful and tender with the very dark.

Treating their instruments like fragile and delicate things yet delivering this beautiful, raging noise, it is clear that Vasa deserve a bigger stage than this.

Now, if you want to have fun watching others have even bigger amounts of fun then Axes is your band.

The quartet emerges from the borderland where music turns from plain sound into structured tunes.

Every song tells a story of its own, without a single word being sung over it.

With a lot of skipping about and a filthy amount of genius (a song title like ‘Rainbow Bacon’ says it all, really) Axes make music look (and sound) so incredibly fun.

Unfortunately, our headlining act Alarm Bells get off to an unlucky start, and for a while it feels like they’re being completely run over by their three supporters.

Technology isn’t exactly on their side tonight and for the first couple of songs it just doesn’t seem to come together.

Quietly magnificent frontman John Baillie is however a force of life and once the microphone stops sounding eerie he’s the figurehead that turns the ship around.

Bringing a bit of hardcore into the equation and providing some dinosaur like wails, they end the night in one of the loudest manners possible, and apologising for the technological difficulties after a four-minute feedback they assure a pleased audience it was unintentional, but that “all the other noise, we put there”.

When the amps eventually go quiet again, the night continues with a ringing party in the auditory canals and I joyfully sigh to myself that nights like these are what makes Glasgow fantastic.

Words: Jo Bagge


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