‘Can you hear yourselves?’
‘That’s good, cos they can hear youse in fuckin Greenock.’
I’m not going to lie: a big highlight of this triple-headliner at Glasgow’s Bar Bloc was the soundcheck banter. And there was a lot of it because, for this gig, noise was important. Not simply the constant sonic onslaught kind – OK, maybe sometimes – but far more frequently something both nuanced and carefully balanced, each band bringing to the stage their own precise sonic predilections. Hence the soundchecks; hence the bants.
Liverpool’s Elevant had the widest range on offer, from dark discotheque vibes to sheer Stoogian gale force. Like a one-band label sampler, they managed to come off effortlessly from one complex number into the threat of covering the theme from Rawhide. The standout was Acral Affection, the lead track from forthcoming EP Normal Life, which promises much for the full release. A perfect embodiment of musical extremes, it set deftly dreary bass against Morse-code treble guitar, both underpinning hallucinatory lyrics circling warily around themes of jealousy and betrayal.
With a nod towards the rest of the lineup, the band apologised for having been ‘slightly underheavy’ before doubling down on their final two songs, delivering on promised riffs interspersed with delicate loops and mathy multiplicity. Closing number Nothing from 2015 album Dreamface managed practically all these things in a single song, kicking in with an aggressive pulse before moving from pounding surf rock to forlorn indie ballad to strident screamo, all within the space of an electrifying eight minutes.
The two Glasgow bands sharing the billing brought some excellent longform doom metal to the evening, of both the miserable and triumphant varieties. Pyre of the Earth’s four epic pieces set audience members both air drumming and headbanging, though fortunately not at the same time. Vocalist Eilidh Harris held admirable sway over the proceedings, tying together atmospheric instrumentation with haunting lyrics, all deftly delivered despite a slightly hyperactive nearby smoke machine.
It only remained for Buried Sleeper to close the night with a set of such thudding destructiveness that words became a mere formality: the reverb-saturated foil for distorted guitars and firecracker drumming. There was much wailing and thrashing of riffs, all sounding slightly like a dinosaur needing its oil changed. We were told the final numbers would take things down a notch, although whether they turned it down from twelve to eleven as I dashed off to join a coachload of Drake fans on the last Edinburgh bus, it’s impossible for me to say. But I somehow hope they didn’t.
For more on Elevant and their tour which concludes in London do visit their site.