Gig Review: Slotface, Lucia + Fauves @ Broadcast

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

It’s getting to that point now where Broadcast is becoming a home away from home. Nested into the hustle and bustle that is Sauchihall Street, it’s a musical haven where you can be guaranteed a set few things: a rough but charming venue downstairs, toilets adorned with graffiti patter, great music and the best damn White Russians this side of the Clyde.

Last night’s gig was no different: after taking advantage of the weekday deal and finding some lovely lines about yer da in the cubicle, the venture downstairs commenced as we were greeted by the soothing rock musings of Fauves. Brought to our attention via the recent Tenement Trail, the band have an underlying quality that comes to the surface with repeated listens – at first you’ll find yourself entranced by the jumpiness and warmth this Glasgow outfit radiate but once you return, you’ll realise just how alluring front-man Ryan Caldwell‘s eccentric vocals really are.

No song does this better than Afterglow with its catchy monkey hollering intro followed by a seductive, solid delivery for the verses. It’s clear that Fauves love to play live as much as they love to make music, shown by the dancing incited by Hit Like This with the well timed moves of Rory Bradley and Gianluca Bernacchi, some jazzy drums by Ciaran Devlin quickly pursuing. 

If Fauves were the cheerful, lying-back-on-a-lilo band then Lucia was the moody wave soon to sweep over the unsuspecting Glasgow audience. Backed up by her equally talented band, the eponymous artist’s main draw is the projection of her pipes, easily wrapping the audience around her finger much like her voice does with the supporting instrumentals.

It’s always very apt for the situation, whether that be the ghostly essence they take on at the start of When I Think Of You or the drawn out nature of them when it comes to What Am I, a track that deserves some recognition for just how great it is considering that Lucia has only been around for just over a year. There was an undeniable chemistry between the act, especially during their closing song, which no doubt adds to how well suited they are all to a live setting, acting a seamless transition to the headliners.

That left us with the Scandinavian heavy hitters Slotface to finish off the delicious three course gig and boy, did they leave us stuffed. This recent tour, much like any band, is to promote their recent album but this UK leg feels more like a victory lap than a monetary one: critically lauded, politically charged and amassing nearly a million plays on Spotify alone, the band have managed to find their niche and have reaped the benefits of maintaining the momentum. 

Starting off with Try Not To Freak Out opener Magazine, Haley Shea‘s vocals felt immediately rougher than they do on the album but this ultimately benefited their performance rather than took away from it: as she chimes that “Patty Smith would never put up with this shit”, you feel like she’s already channelling some of that resilience and lets it all out in the hectic chorus. It doesn’t stop the band from lightening up the mood, shown by Pitted with its party narrative that inevitably incites some unruly movement from the crowd – if the venue was just a bit bigger then they really would have put the Pit in Pitted.

As the performance draws to an end, it’s hard to think that Slotface have only played once in Glasgow prior to tonight. The city always remains a favourite for acts all over the world and it’s no different to this indie rock outfit who may not have outright said but definitely showed it with the admiration on their face and their performances all round. It not only solidified them as a band to be reckoned with but one with a bite that matches their bark.    


Album Review: Slotface – Try Not To Freak Out

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)rating 8

Trying to catch lightning in a bottle seems to be an anomaly for a lot of up and coming groups: die the band who came out with an amazing EP and didn’t follow it up with anything or live long enough to see yourself become the act that waited half a decade to drop something lukewarm.

Norwegian indie rock outfit Slotface, stylised as Sløtface, are faced with this challenge upon the release of Try Not To Freak Out, an aptly titled record that is no doubt just as directed at themselves as it is their listeners. With a high octane 2016 that saw the band heralded in as one of DIY’s Class of 2017 as well as changing their name from SLUTFACE, R.I.P, the four-piece never seem to have been tempted to tap the brakes since their 2012 formation and thankfully, this same mantra is applied on their first full length album.

Right off the bat, the band seem to have a taste for giving the conventional indie rock tunes a new spin: Magazine kicks off the proceedings and on the surface, it’s a solid song revolving around a break-up that is cataclysmic to put it lightly. However, pull back the lyrical curtains and there’s the trademark feminism fuelled attitude of Slotface staring back at you, this track in particular taking digs at the media and the unrealistic representations of body image. It helps that Magazine radiates a garage punk meets pop vibe that results in more of a protest than a mopey musing.

Nancy Drew follows up this activist sentiment, using the titular female detective as an anarchist icon along with some snarly lines about her being a nightmare and threatening to take down your boy clubs down in one fell swoop. Haley Shea’s delivery on here, in addition to the grittier production, culminates in the proof of Slotface being a band with something to say, one that possesses the ability to make it sound amazing in the process.

The band are have some serious plans but that doesn’t mean they’re against just hitting out with a simple, fun anthem now and again. Pitted is the epitome of this, Shea throwing out an adolescent narrative about partying, drinking and the consequences, as well as the fun, it brings with it. Six tracks later and Slotface go further back into their childhood on Slumber, a host of references to 70’s and 80’s flicks used to describe a pleasant sleepover though with the foresight of adulthood bringing a melancholic vibe to it. 

There are a whole host of indie bands around at the moment that try their hand at social commentary and while it should be encouraged, a lot seem to be repeating the same narratives and resulting in further adding to the blandness of the genre. Thankfully the rebellious tidings of Slotface, balanced by some care-free but equally fine tuned anthems, leaves their debut feeling like something important: it’s a cliche to constantly reference in reviews of our current political climate but Try Not To Freak Out shows that you can care about shit while also having a fucking good time in the process.