By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)
Much like every year, King Tuts, one of the greatest small venues in not only Scotland but the whole of the UK, has got its annual New Years Revolution underway. The pun tinged event is just one of many ways King Tuts contributes to the Scottish music scene, allowing acts of all genres to perform in one of the most tightly packed and atmospheric places they’ll ever see. Whilst the stairs up to the stage adorn the names of some of the biggest acts to have ever picked up a guitar, no doubt adding to the nerves of the young and hopeful about to play, it’s a solid reminder that music favours the brave and that playing in a place like King Tuts could be the first in a long line of cherished gigs. So without further ado, let’s pick apart and dissect the acts that gave it their all last night in the coveted Glasgow scene.
The attire that Inverness act donned last night was not just so that they were dressed to impressed. With half the band in t-shirts and jeans, anyone who was around to see the 00’s indie rock craze could have mistaken them for a Bloc Party. The other half of the band were dressed up like embodiment’s of older Arctic Monkeys with front-man Joshua Mackenzie in a grey suit and open shirt, channelling his inner Alex Turner repeatedly throughout their 8 song set. I wouldn’t describe the band’s wear if it didn’t somehow tie into the music and boy did it. Nearly every track radiated youthful bliss thanks to some shimmering guitars and solid vocal performances, acting like a time capsule to the early days of Franz Ferdinand but tied in with some modern influences to further strengthen the quality of their music. The highlight track was the rather aptly titled Black Magic, an alluring song with an AM flare to it and a sensual sounding vocal delivery which all ends in a heavy guitar solo climax. It was a stroke of genius to have Lional start the night off with a bang but meant that all the following acts had some rather big shoes to fill in.
The first band to follow up on Lional’s success were Edinburgh indie rock outfit Retro Video Club who easily won the award for best band name in my eyes. Sound wise, the band made quite the impact as they seem to be like a rare few bands, like fellow Edinburgh act Vistas, who seem to have the catchy songwriting trait down to a tee with only an EP or two under their belts. Second song Caroline proved this very well with front-man Liam Allison displaying some shifty looking eyes to tie in efficiently with the songs theme of ambiguity and hesitation. For the sophomore act, it was quite a surprise to see so many members of the audience singing along with the band, especially during finale track 1993 which seemed to fade away with a very Reflektor-esque sheen to it that kept the iconic “Here We Fucking Go” rhythm to it in its closing seconds, keeping the crowd in the palm of their hands throughout.
The penultimate act of the night, Ayrshire rock act The Ranzas were more than confident to show King Tuts what they are made of and gave what could very well be the defining performance of their career before things get turned up a notch with the release of a new EP. Their punk and rock influences could be felt not only through their music, which vibrated everything in a 2 mile radius no doubt, but the band’s body language, especially that of front-man Lyle Kennedy who repeatedly hit out with a crucifix-esque pose a la Liam Gallagher. Save Me Now, the second track the band played, perfectly demonstrated the band’s capabilities having went through a bit of an update a few years back, constantly evolving before eventually unravelling into an eruptious roar from the crowd that could probably be heard from Glasgow Central. Give The Ranzas a year and they won’t only be headlining King Tuts NYR in 2018 but they’ll be playing at far bigger venues.
With the night almost at a close, it was time for The Dead Settlers to show why their name deserved to be at the top of the chalkboard door. Having just released their debut EP Burn With Me back in November of last year, the crowd were already hyped to see the Glasgow based act bring these tracks to life and boy did they. The eponymous track almost seems like it’s about to break out into Wonderwall before it incorporates some much welcome blues elements that stops the band coming off as a tribute act and paints them as a group of lads who want to innovate with the music they grew up with. Even though the band had released it as a single back in 2015, Sophia got quite the reaction out of the audience in no small part to the resemblance of 90’s britpop that *LG voice* shineeeeeed from it. Finishing off with Lucy’s Not A Dancer, the first song that vocalist Rich Freed ever made all the way back in 2012, it was perfectly fitting to have the night come to a close to it, showing just how far the band have come from uploading a video on YouTube to performing in front of hundreds in one of Glasgow’s best venues. Utterly passionate on so many levels and very well deserved.