MØGEN, new electro-pop act from Dumfries, open the night by bringing ambient sounds and soft vocals through a loop pedal and a synth.
At one point they slip into ‘Heaven’ and the duo bicker over whether it is a cover of Bryan Adams or DJ Sammy.
The young frontwoman has an ethereal voice reminiscent of Purity Ring and Daughter, as heard on first single ‘Anchor’.
The back room of the Southside’s Glad Cafe is covered in DIY banners and tape, with “HQFU YES U” scrawled on every space and a merch table stocking the self-titled debut album launching tonight on vinyl, t-shirts and, of course, socks.
TYCI, feminist collective and promoters, bring an amazing atmosphere of community to all of their events.
Tonight there is champagne popping in front of the stage, enthusiastic dancing and a lot of love in all corners of the packed venue.
Sarah J. Stanley is the Glasgow-based musician and producer behind HQFU, and a talented visual artist.
She has a fierce attitude and aesthetic to match the bitter and mantra-like lyrics, which get better with every listen, like the repeated declaration on one track, “you should feel like shit too”, and the cynical chorus “too much of a dreamer / it will fuck you over” on ‘Dreamer’.
HQFU is dark but electrifying techno-house, euphoric and intense rave music to soundtrack hedonistic antidotes to angst.
Very 90s-influenced and a little Crystal Castles, by halfway through the set The Glad Cafe could just as well have been the Sub Club, particularly on tracks ‘Sat Nite’ and ‘Ca$hle$$ Lips’.
New single ‘Good Reason’ moves frantically through keyboard riffs and drum machine sounds to a crescendo that gets every last person in the crowd twitching their shoulders.
With a summer of collaborations and festivals lined up, catch HQFU in small venues like this while you can – the fever this album brings to the launch will keep spreading like fire through the Scottish music scene and beyond.
Words: Ellen MacAskill