Gig Review: die! die! die!, Garden of Elks @NiceNSleazy Glasgow

diediedie-glasgow-august2013Young Philadelphia opened this Glasgow gig at Sleazies but do you know how hard it is to fit them and Die! Die! Die! and Garden of Elks into a headline? Glasgow podcart put on another cracking show but the scenesters were nowhere to be seen. Only the loyal subjects turned out.  

For a man who usually turns up far too early for gigs, that’s twice in recent times where I’ve missed the opening band. Oh, the guilt.

What I did see was the last song being played by Glasgow’s Young Philadelphia. Yet another two-piece, they are saved from lazy comparisons by having a drummer who looks innocent enough until he drums like a hulk smash. While the drumkit is desperately trying to remember the safety word, the guitarist is intricately noodling some intricate noodles. It’s all very interesting and all too short due to my tardiness. You can listen to them now on the interwebs if you so desire.

Gig promoter and Glasgow podcart mastermind Halina is now handing out free earplugs. That’s ominous. I usually have my own but on this occasion I’d forgotten to take them with me so I pushed what looked like Fruit Salad penny sweets into my ears and off Garden of Elks went.

I’ve written about them before and it was another performance that makes you wonder whether gonzo lo-fi is a genre yet? The song “This Morning We Are Astronauts” is still my favourite. The band tread a fine line between youthful exuberance and loose laces you could trip over, which is probably how The Ramones sounded in their early days. That feeling that it could all collapse at any second makes for compelling viewing. It’s certainly not boring.

And then they were back. Die! Die! Die! have made the UK their second home and it only seems like five minutes ago they were storming up a riot over at Bar Bloc. Five months in reality so let’s be grateful.

The most noticeable thing this time around, and I’ve watched them a lot, is that singer-guitarist Andrew Wilson commands his vocals with the authority of a general giving orders to frontline troops. This is creative hardcore with a vocal performance that few could match. The reality is many hardcore influenced underground bands can’t sing very well. Or they can but don’t make the effort to do it consistently throughout a set. Or the soundguy can’t get the vocal high enough over the wall of noise coming from the band.

Die! Die! Die! haven’t gone soft. They’ve never sounded more creative, joyful or energetic. Perhaps with the guitar parts becoming more abstract, the vocals keep us hooked in despite a rhythm section hell bent on playing at 100mph. Forget the recorded version, Sideways Here We Come played live at breakneck pace is one of the catchiest songs you’ll hear. It’s almost doing it a disservice to listen to the recorded original or even a live session. Someone please email me a live version of that song! There must be something about having an audience that ignites the fury.


‘Harmony’ described by Rolling Stone Australia as “…their finest work yet”.





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