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Sunday, 20 June 2010

Hyperjax/Eddy and the T-Bolts/Roscoe Vacant - 13th Note Glasgow 19/6/10

You would think that on a hot summers night slinking into the 13th Notes subterranean basement club would offer some respite from the heat, but no. It's the opposite. It's an underground oven.
I'm sweating like a paedophile clown at a kiddies party. If you licked the moisture from the wall you could probably get a taste of my DNA.
I could claim that the alcohol I was drinking like it was going out of fashion was for rehydration purposes, but in all honesty I was just in party mode.
It's been a tough week and Saturday night was the perfect night to let my hair down (Cue the bad haircut jokes from those who know me). Good venue, good company and three acts who could give any other band appearing in Glasgow a run for their money.
Like I said perfect.
For tonight Roscoe Vacant has left his battered acoustic at home and instead is slashing at his equally battered electric guitar with the passionate conviction that we have come to expect from him.
Mild mannered, quiet and charming off stage Roscoe may well be, but he's the polar opposite once he straps on his guitar and gets behind a mic. There's a righteous anger there that bubbles up and spills over. His ire at the world around him is eloquently displayed and whether you agree with his political view it's difficult not to be swept away with the passion of the performance.
Right at this moment he is firing on all cylinders and every line spat out is formed with frighteningly honest intent. He has a message and you need to hear it
Often enough he has been compared to a young Billy Bragg and it's easy to hear why.
He has the same strength of conviction in what he is doing and the one man and a guitar also lends credence to the comparisons, but the differences that lay under the surface are huge.
Roscoe Vacant is far more immediate, far more forceful and far more relevant than Billy has been for many a year. He's a true punk poet, and with his anti fashion punk attitude is a hundred percent more honest than the latest gap year riot student diddling about with a studded belt, some converse sneakers and waxed liberty spikes.
Sticking Roscoe on the bill is the perfect antidote to the fashinista punks. So vive le folkpunknrolla.
Next were the exuberant Eddy and the T-Bolts, who similar to Roscoe aren't interested in all the scene bullshit that permeates so many other gigs. They simply have a remit to rock and do so with infectious wild abandon. Their frontman is a stomping dervish who is living out his rockstar dream regardless of who is there to watch them.
The first word from his lips is “Heeeeeeeellllllllllooooooooo Glllaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssgggggggoooooow” as if he's stepped to the lip of the stage at Madison Square Gardens. It's hilarious considering the size of the venue and even the size of the crowd he is playing to, but he knows this. This is his shtick.
A little later he dedicates a song to the god of thunder Gene Simmons pretending that he is oblivious to the fact that the crowd is made up of punks and psychobillies. I could imagine him saying that it doesn't matter as everyone loves KISS anyway.
Let's get this straight though. When I say that they play rock music it's actually got a nice punky edge to it.
In the UK punk a lot of the bands can sometimes be a bit basic. They see guitar solos and such as prima donna bullshit, wheras the US ones seem to know their way about a guitar and never shy away from some guitar wankery, and neither does the fella in the T-Bolts.
So if you like your punk rock with added howling guitar solos then this band is for you.
The last song they play is called “John McClane” and sums the band up with it's genius Yippee Ki Aye refrain. Everything bounces along like a Russ Meyer cast jogging in halter tops. Hugely entertaining and as they finish they tell us all that they have an ep for sale at the bargain price of £4, but will settle for £2.51 with a bit of haggling.
The night just gets better and better.

The Hyperjax is the band that the majority are here to see though and they don't hang about. I think Eddy and the T-Bolts were still packing some of their stuff away as Sam. Liam and Neil kicked off.
I don't know what was in the coffee that Sam was drinking earlier on, but it banished his hangover blues and seemed to give him a new lease of life.
Everything was played harder and faster than I've heard before and although I've never felt that any of the music needed toughened up it does work better when it's pushed hard like this.
Neil is a thrashing blur in the background while Liam seemed to think that he was still slapping for The Termites. It wasn't as if Sam was being dragged along by his rhythm section though. He had it all in hand and was leading from the front.
I've never seen the band play a less than sterling gig, but this was the best so far.
The Wildest Card sounded like a rock and roll behemoth. Fuckin awesome.
There wasn't one single solitary moment when the gig dipped below the very high benchmark that they set themselves.
This is how every single band should approach their gigs. No prisoners should be taken and no quarter given.
Talkin' New York City sounded as fresh as it did the first time I heard it, as did everything else.
I could literally just keep going on and on punting forward increasingly more ridiculous superlatives about how good these guys were, but I guess you just had to be there.
There's even a new single coming out and to my buzzing ears it sounded pretty damn good so keep an eye out for it and if you haven't seen the Hyperjax before then you really have to ask yourself why the fuck not?
It's not as if they only do the occasional gig in far flung places. These guys are road dogs and have been pretty consistent in playing up and down the country over the last few years.
So my advice would be to get your finger out and make sure you do before the year is out.
A few months ago a mate in the US mentioned to me that he thought that the Hyperjax were a bit lightweight and I set him straight, but if he had seen this performance he would have been issuing a grovelling apology.
A top show that the band should be proud of.

Free downloads of Roscoe Vacant available from the man himself at

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