Gigs: I love gigs, you love gigs, we all love gigs (unless you’re the type to complain about people bumping into you when you’re in Standing). To me, they’re undoubtedly the best thing about music where a band’s discography takes a whole new form, where they can interact and be intimate with their fans, whether or not you agree is up to you.
This is an opinion shared by many though and one that can inspire many musicians to get involved themselves as nothing seems to make a person feel more alive or happy than performing on stage. King Tuts, recently nominated for the Best Small Venue of 2015 by NME, clearly is one that has the same thinking as they’ve got a whole host of new acts to come along, show what they’ve got and experience what it’s really like in one of the best places you could hope to perform in Scotland.
They’re not all newcomers per say however as shown by Ayrshire-based act Echo Valley, a band who in the past year alone have supported indie juggernauts Peace in this very venue and have travelled to France to perform live. In addition to that, brothers Liam and Shaun McCluskey from the act have organised their very own monthly gigs back down in Ayr to promote new music with various acts coming along to perform. In a way, King Tuts are doing what they have on a grander scale but I’ll take a moment now to stop sounding like a hipster wank.
While the band have accomplished a lot though, do they deserve to be headlining here tonight? Hell fucking yes. As soon as Little Sister opened the set it was impossible to see one person in the room not at least nodding their head in acknowledgement of the track’s alluring sound, others jumping about and singling along to what is undoubtedly a belter of a chorus. What I found strangely amazing about the song though was the reaction it got for a track that starts with the lyrics “drink your virgin’s blood” but go hard or go home I suppose (that’s what all the cool youth are saying anyway).
I was lucky enough to interview Liam and Shaun from the band a few months back and one quote that stuck with me was the band’s integrity, worded perfectly by Shaun himself: “Be yourself unless you’re a dick”. Echo Valley’s performance didn’t come across as non-genuine or artificial in the slightest, a habit that so many bands tend to fall into in an attempt to appeal to a broader audience. Instead there was interlude chats about getting drunk and enjoying both the music and the moment, as down to earth as you could get.
One thing that seemed to annoy the band was the constant comparisons to other indie acts with comments like “they sound just like the Arctic Monkeys” being a backhanded compliment. It’s the easiest job in the world to say that this is no longer the case as each song manages to help create this image of a band providing twisted and personal lyrics over an engaging punk rock sound. Echo Valley are a delight on stage and with us only being 10 days into the new year, 2016 is certain to be eventful. With a new drummer expected as well as a new single, now is a better time than any to keep your eyes on these lads from Ayrshire.