Hector Bizerk / Woven Tents/ Strange Empire
Nice`n` Sleazys, Glasgow
added: 12 Jan 2013
// gig date: 24 Jan 2013
reviewer: Mark McGhee
January is a tough month for everything never mind live music.
Everyone seems to be skint and/ or joined the gym on a health kick which will likely never get as far as February.
Add terrible weather into the mix and you tend to find Glasgow in January is not the best time to play live music.
Thankfully the promise of Hector Bizerk playing Nice `n` Sleazys was enough to make people dust off their dancing shoes in their droves and create an electric atmosphere at Nice `N` Sleazys which boasts a brand new and thoroughly impressive P.A system.
Opening proceedings was Strange Empire who I was seeing for the very first time. They`ve been on my radar since I found out Tragic O` Hara was in the band , who is an outstanding solo artist in his own right.
Strange Empire didn’t disappoint and played polished bluesy anthems with a great rockabilly gusto which delighted fans and entertained a lot of people who were obviously seeing them for the first time. They created some fantastic moments and had everyone singing along to a medley which included The Doors, Dusty Springfield and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club which encapsulated and embodied their sound. These bands also give you a good idea of what Strange Empire sound like but definitely adding their own edge and swagger to proceedings.
Next up was The Woven Tents who I recalled from seeing the end of their set at Doune the Rabbit Hole last summer. They came on with a psycadelic strut and played a very instrumental based set using effects pedals, looping vocals with tight knit drumming being key to the performance. Hints of Mogwai and Sgt Peppers nestled side by side and for me the drummer (dressed in some impressive Ringo Starr threads) was like a front man as he expressively played every beat from the heart during each epic soundscape.
I would like to hear some of their recordings before seeing them next time as the music seems like it could be something that could really grow on you with a few listens.
Last but certainly not least, Hector Bizerk come onto the stage as the crowd clambers down the front. The room temperature and an air of expectation soars as this is without doubt Scotland`s definitive live hip hop act of 2012.
They start 2013 as they ended 2012 at George`s Square by ripping through a flawless set which mostly consists of songs from their outstanding debut LP `Drums, Rap, Yes` .
They open with the title track which starts off slow and minimal with frontman Louie demanding your attention by sneering `'I wanna be in one of those bands wi' the pointy shoes and hair like Paul Weller. Nah, fuck that!” he then continue to scathingly pick apart all the industry clichés , genre by genre. This is the Hector Bizerk manifesto, A rallying call to the crowd and a warning shot to the average. The tempo is raised, the lyrics hit break-neck speed before it bows out with a hundred Glaswegians reciting in unison `Drums! Rap! Yes!`
The bar is set high and it remains at this standard throughout.
Originally, Hector played as a 2 piece with the outrageously talented Audrey Tait on drums matching every syllable Louie spat in perfect harmony which is no mean feat. It`s seemingly effortless though to one of the finest drummers in Scotland and when you combine that with one of the best lyrical talents in the country it is a sight to behold.
That was what made Hector stand out from the rest of the Scottish hip hop scene in live performances so I must admit at first I was a little apprehensive about them adding Two new members (Fraser Sneddon on Bass and Jennifer Muir on synth)
These fears are once again blown away as they get the perfect balance in giving Hector Bizerk a fuller, richer sound without drowning out the winning dynamics. Fraser is forever in synch with Audrey`s drums and bosses the stage throughout. Meanwhile Jennifer is all kinds of cool on the keys and added percussion. Tonight, she also sings majestically over the disco - tinged hook for `Needs, Wants and Lies` which momentarily transports the crowd into an acid rave as Louie weaves his poetic prose with poise and panache .
One final highlight to mention was new song `Orchestrated Madness` which borrows the beast of a bass riff from Fleetwood Mac`s `The Chain`, giving it an instantly recognizable feel which the band then make their own.
Expect big things in 2013 as these guys and gals tick all the boxes of a good band.
Solid, lyrical and political yet fun to dance to. Coming to a venue or festival near you soon.
The album can be streamed at : https://soundcloud.com/hector-bizerk/sets/drums-rap-yes-1
Hector Bizerk`s next gig is supporting Grandmaster Flash at the Classic Grand on February 8th and you can catch a solo appearance from Louie at the Alternative Burns Supper at Pivo Pivo on Friday 25th January
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