16 February 2018
Stereo be the hive, The Van T's the fuzzing swarm within.
Published in Crash
Invited are we behind the sonic curtain this eve, into a realm of fuzzed-out frenzy, and unlike the ‘Great Wizard’ there is not a morsel of disappointment in sight. Pleasure Heads commence tonight’s bill with their oscillations between punk and post with tremendous flair. Guised in Tropicana shirts, sprinkles of glitter, and frowns-all-round, they present themselves in a resolutely sardonic manner. Their crowd is formed predominantly of a staunchly loyal tribe of lads, who dance and scream alongside every cut as though it is their own escapades committed to song — maybe it is. The freshly released Middle Man magnetises their disciples, and the rest of us, in for their finest hour, although it cannot go unsaid that the guitar work on Narcissist’s Anonymous is statically savage. This Falkirk four must come out of hiding more.
Words are tough when it comes to the Glasgow tri-force Shredd as I feel as though my personal lexicon does them meagre justice. The level of passion I possess for their sound is not yet recognised by conventional religions, so I shall do my utmost to refrain from disgruntling the higher beings with rambling sentences of impassioned glee…God be damned, these lads sell audible-arson with the most unwavering of demeanours. Chris Harvie’s galvanic guitar would have provided Marty McFly’s DeLorean with more than enough juice to get back to 1985 — how an Almighty bolt seems superfluous in comparison to these lads. Mark McDonald’s tumbling bass on The Switch is a tremendous showcase of his dexterity and secures his position as the rumbling thunder to Harvie’s whip-crack lightning.
Even their interludes are carried out sans-silence, a persistent distortion keeps the fuzz alive from track to track. But their buzzing blitz of garage-rock is delivered with its heaviest administration by way of Cobra, Harvie’s crazed lunges and fidget-fuelled manoeuvres are consistently enthralling, making us wonder what intergalactic space-junk is firing his furnace. Calum Wilson’s octopoid percussion stokes the tune with its relentless wrath, bringing credence to a notion that his might was formed on an off-world labour camp. It is a seemingly endless finale, with denouement after denouement, but it only escalates in its delivery of spectacle, beyond what we deserve. Forever shall we be grateful for this performance, and never shall our breath be fully restored.
The Van T’s, without fuss nor muss, burst straight out the gates with Blood Orange, inducing us in an instant to their deluge of distortion. The Glaswegian four-piece’s intensity, blended with the asphyxiating plumes of smoke and crimson blades of luminance send us plummeting into the realm of Hades. Guitarists and vocalists Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson (the twins who provide the band’s abridged namesake) supply the perfect sisterly harmonies which makes their sound thrive. The kinship they possess is ubiquitous throughout the set, their vocals are so en pointe that it is a shame that Chloe doesn’t pipe up more as her capability is absolutely ready, however, the pair’s guitar sways are utterly bewitching in their unison.
The sisters Van Thompson seem terribly underwhelmed by their audience’s engagement, so they put into play a firm hand to instil an attitude of carnage amongst their followers. Bittersweet gives us the vial of adrenaline capable enough to do as such. A mosh pit erupts and the Glaswegian quartet feed off of this with wailing guitars, reverb recesses and bloodthirsty drums. The allusions to the vampire set do not stop here, their darkened attire and lustful crowd-ward gazes suggest they are here to pick apart each and every one of us with their growling jowls.
Swarming levels of overdrive assist in helping them achieve their intended ode to 90s fuzz. Additional comment on their influences shall be left at the door in the interest of preserving their sound for what it is: a triumph in its own right. Fresh Meat’s dirging guitar, haunting harmonies and crashing percussion affirm them as a uniquely beastly presence. Furthermore, Laguna Babe is a fierce standout, its surf-twang and mesmerising vocal twofer give the vibe of a luau gone askew. What the feral four-piece bring to the stage wholeheartedly is an exhilarating escape from the grind. They welcome all on their trip to the precipice of peril but leave the choice to leap entirely in our hands. Myself being a sucker for the combo of falling with style and peer pressure: I jumped.