A punk night in Edinburgh.
Dark, dingy, dank, dirty, Henry’s Cellar Bar is the perfect Edinburgh venue for a night like this. You can’t get in with a ticket, you need a special fluorescent yellow badge designed by headliners Brainglue. Redstripe at the bar, the men’s toilets are out of order, all the right ingredients for a sweaty basement gig.
Shiva are an ideal opening band, three-piece, young, and as punk as you like. Travelling from Falkirk they were keen to impress and played a smashing set. Having a blast on stage, the lads made a good account of themselves and definitely found a few new fans in the audience. Such was the fervour of the guitar swinging that the fairy lights above their heads started falling down, admittedly held together precariously by sticky tape. Aidan and Daniel led the front line trading vocal parts and instruments in a fluid fashion which created an exciting feeling of apprehension from the audience. Taps aff, hair long, Michael on drums had decent chops, drowned out slightly by the sound dynamics of the venue, but the compulsory energy from the punk drummer was still felt regardless. In terms of sound, the band were very raw, to some extent deliberately, but they are very much still in their performing infancy and have excellent potential on show for the future.
Whitehill Grove are a well experienced band, slightly older than Shiva, it’s clear they know what they’re doing on stage, whilst perhaps not as mental as the former act, they played well and their songs were more structured. They had better equipment, and have undoubtedly spent more time learning how to use them, which came across well. Singer Callum Ferguson had a clear register which sits on the mix nicely, Danny Gillies controlled much of the sound from his pedal board, his guitar playing unmistakably impressive. The rhythm section, Seth Allen and Ethan Deane, did what it should in the context of an indie/rock band, it held everything together while allowing for occasional flourishes. The most notable song from the set, “Jessica” can be found on track four of the band’s latest EP “Make Some Trouble.” The song has all the right ingredients as a power indie/rock tune, heavy, bouncy, melodic, and easy lyrics. Well established and well organised, don’t be surprised to hear more from the boys throughout the year.
Once you have seen Brainglue perform, you will not forget them. The four-piece exploded into their first song, “Prozac,” every member of the band perfectly tight to the music, allowing frontman Ewan Temperley to capture everyone’s attention with his gritty style as he dominated the stage, and the surrounding area in front of it, throughout the entire set. Sunglasses indoors is often a sin but not when you give so little of a fuck that you spit water and beer into the crowd and ductape the word “Dirt” to your abdomen. A true whirlwind of a performance followed, it seemed to go by quickly and yet was so packed with events that it must have gone on for about an hour. Lead guitarist Sparky Buck-Barret, like the previous band, dominated the melodic side of the band, playing with his hands and conducting the room with his feet on the pedal board. Bassist Ruairidh Hanna grooved perpetually and never missed a note, while Drummer Liam Williamson likewise never missed a beat as he smashed the kit to kingdom come. A solid set of fans who packed the place out interacted with the band throughout which was a joy to be a part of. Brainglue know what they’re about, and are plowing through the middle of the Scottish music scene as if it wasn’t even there. Catch them if you can in your local town, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.