For reasons that more or less amount to me not being competent enough to find a working cash machine near King Tut’s, I miss a lot of Bella and The Bear’s opening set, but it’s clear when I eventually arrive at the venue that the already bustling crowd adore what they’re being treated to: an acoustic boy/girl duo with a guest saxophonist for some additional textures.
With their excellent voices and well-rounded, folky song writing, I hear enough in the first few seconds of being there to confirm that I should kick myself for not being present from the beginning.
Their soulful alt-rock bellows in a totally different way to the openers, but on some levels there are similarities and Pronto Mama do well to convince the audience that they’re the perfect fit for the middle of this evening’s line-up.
They crash through their set with barrels of drive courtesy of drummer, Martin Johnston, and swagger with the confidence of an experienced band that are effortlessly tight.
‘You’re Only Human’ from, ravechild’s number 1 E.P of 2014, Niche Market, encapsulates Pronto Mama’s composition skills, particularly in the mathy breakdown, which keeps on the right side of the thin line between sounding amazing and fucking with time signatures just for the sake of fucking with time signatures.
Bella and the Bear and Pronto Mama are both exceptional, but when Hector Bizerk swirl onto the stage to the sound of an old-timey waltz, they make it absolutely clear why they’re the headliners.
Audrey Tait begins a new song on acoustic guitar and vocals whilst Louie hangs his head in silence, waiting as the song chugs along, ratcheting up the tension.
I’ll admit that hip-hop has sometimes been a genre of music which has failed to pique my interest – in particular the old-school hip-hop Hector seem to be influenced by – but when eventually ‘The Waltz’ has built up enough, Louie drops into a rap assault that is so savagely badass that the entire atmosphere in the room warps to fit the unique, frenzied brand of excitement that Hector Bizerk create.
Afterwards, ‘Party at A & E’ provides the first familiar song of the set, and it sounds both reckless and calculated, mirroring the hectic possibilities of a night in Glasgow.
To the side of the stage Pearl Kinnear paints on a canvas as a non-musical member of the band, but the more immediate attention is drawn to tonight’s hype man, who dances and waves an emblazoned flag to help keep the audience jumping along.
It’s been a pretty intense year as the band have released four EPs inspired by their city’s crest, and played in America to the crowds of South By South West, but confirming that Glasgow is still their best crowd, tonight seems like a pretty sweet cherry on top of an impressive cake (excuse my bad metaphor).
The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is the LP Hector Bizerk are launching, and it is so named because of the stage show Crazy Jane, which the group wrote music for.
Amongst the fan favourites is a new song from the album ‘Yes, I Have Autism’, a solid indicator the band’s song-writing abilities are consistently getting better and better.
This twinned with their insane live show makes clear that Hector Bizerk’s momentum isn’t going to wane any time soon.
Words: Greg Murray
Photos: Tim Gray