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Monday, 12 May 2014

The Sonics - The Arches - 09/05/14 (Glasgow)

Sounding like a head on collision between the beat groups of the sixties and a tour bus filled with a festival line up of the Velvet Underground, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Glasvegas and The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Velveteen Saints may be unashamedly displaying their influences on their collective sleeves, but there’s not much wrong with the noise they make.
It’s a glorious cacophony of primal rock and roll exuberance that screams that they are alive.
Even with the horrendous support band sound that they received, and the muddy mess that was their shared vocals bouncing off the brickwork of the Arches, you can’t dismiss the muscle they are flexing for the benefit of those who arrived early enough to see them.
With a fine balance of technical ability and attitude this quartet can very obviously walk the walk, and as more people start to whisper their name as a band to watch out for they aren’t going to be looking to disappoint anyone anytime soon.
Today The Arches, tomorrow the world.
Vive le Velveteen Saints.

The Primevals neatly fill in the central position between the new that is The Velveteen Saints and the old that is The Sonics, but there’s no aural middle age spread on display.
Having been there and bought the t-shirt regularly enough over the years the Glasgow RnB/Garage stalwarts aren't letting the grass grow under their feet and used this performance to air four new songs that will feature on their next album that may be out prior to the end of this year.
The addition of these tracks fitted neatly into the over all flow, and left those of us who would claim to be aficionados of their sound embracing the comfortable aural missive that all is going absolutely fine in the Primevals camp and no huge change of direction is being considered.
Once again the sound couldn't be described as crystal clear though, and instead spent its time dipping its toe in muddy waters, but similar to the young guns of the night The Primevals sound couldn’t be lost completely in the mix and they valiantly powered on through to the end and snatched a victory from the jaws of the cavernous venue.

Now the Sonics are a different story altogether.
There’s no surprise that any sound issues vanished as they took to the stage, and the band I had first heard over thirty years ago, and who I never ever thought I would see, hammered straight into a set that simply reinforced why they have a legendary tag attached to them.
Were they the first blossoming of the sound of punk?
Who cares really?
Click to enlarge.
Velveteen Saints
Copyright Martin Windebank
It’s not something that anyone attending cared about as the music itself is rooted in something more organic.
It sets some chemistry going as it thunders along.
Blood pumps through the veins.
Muscles jump and set toes tapping and that then eases into more exuberant movement as we loosen up.
This is the moment when musicians like modern day alchemists can turn sound into something more physical.
I have always felt privileged when I have seen The Stooges, MC5, The New York Dolls and Mott the Hoople to name a few.
Especially when they smash the high ceiling of expectations that I have created, as individually they are my childhood heroes who I genuinely never thought I would experience live.
Yet as the years roll past I have managed to score band after band off my own bucket lists with nary a disappointment and this show was to be no different.
High praise and hyper excited plaudits had been rolling in with each UK date they played and with each review I nudged the bar ever higher and then as familiar song after familiar song was powered through they left that bar in the dust.
Best of all was the inclusion of new material, that similar to The Primevals songs, did nothing more than promise more excellence to come.
The band should have surf funded the new album and kept the lions share of the profits from the forthcoming album as they richly deserve to have a financial pay day after jolting a certain style of music in a different direction way back in the early sixties.
Maybe they weren't confident enough to do that, but with the UK dates now completed they must be sitting somewhere right now and greeting a dawning realization that people are there for them.
That they are respected, loved and supported more than they may have actually realized.

With a promise that they will returning to Scotland sooner rather than later I am happy to commit to seeing them again.
After all, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
So don’t be that music fan.

Some Velveteen Saints.
Primevals website.
The Sonics website.

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