King 810 + The Courtesans + Rare Breed @ King Tut’s, Glasgow

Date: 20th February 2018
Review By: Pete Mutant

Good old King Tut’s. A venue which has played host to acts that cover practically the whole spectrum of music. This was the scene for the return of King 810 to Glasgow after three years had passed since their last performance supporting Korn and Slipknot at the SSE Hydro. The band were still touring under 2016’s ‘La Petite Mort or a Conversation with God’ and this was Glasgow’s first chance of getting a dose of it live.

London based doom pop artisans The Courtesans were going to be their partner on the road for this stint in the UK. The two bands were at Bloodstock festival last year and now they are both on tour, covering mainland Britain. The Courtesans are no strangers to this city either and have been playing gigs up here pretty much since they started out. The all female quartet were bringing their recent EP ‘Better Safe Than Sober’ along with them and, having gone from strength to strength of late, they were primed and ready to give the Glaswegians a mesmerizing performance.

First up we had support from the fairly local outfit Rare Breed [3.0/5] who had not came into my circle of knowledge until this night. The quintet were playing their first gig of 2018 and straight away fitted well into the groove of the evening’s offerings. They opened with ‘Recondition’ and the  grooves started flowing. There was plenty of bounce with a seismic thunder coming from drummer Ross McRaild’s well sequenced blasts. Gravy Armour’ vocal delivery was a driving force as the anthemic ‘This Is The Sickness’ kept the juices flowing.

There was a decent sized crowd already set in the venue and they were getting a strong performance from Rare Breed. There was a fair bit of open, bottom end heaviness but there was also melody and Gravy Armour wasn’t shy in displaying his range when going from harsh to clean vocals. ‘Open Graves’ was their penultimate track before the band finished their set with ‘Fading Memory’ which brought some nice harmonics and some more clean singing although it fell a little flat in its delivery.

Not a bad start but it was time to get my first taste of The Courtesans as the backtrack built up and the band members took the stage.

As mentioned, The Courtesans [3.5/5] are no strangers to Glasgow. They immediately brought a shivering atmosphere as they rode in on ‘The Tide’ from their recent EP. The drums from Vikki Brown were well tempered but struck deep from the switch from the Hi-Hats to the Toms. There was an airiness to the music which built a weighty atmosphere. The backing vocals were high and piercing which contrasted lead vocalist Sinead Bales’ deeper and more driven vocals. Her vocal delivery brought plenty more impact to the music, be it through her deep resonating tone or her more rustic and casual spoken word song. There was plenty of energy onstage, the band members swaying along to the flowing music but were always on course for amping up their presence when the songs took a heavier twist. The crowd were highly receptive and as the set rolled on with ‘Walking On Waves’ and ‘John Doe’ they only got more drawn in and involved

It wasn’t all going smoothly though as bassist Agnes D. Jones was experiencing some sound issues with firstly the bass being too loud then her vocals requiring more volume. There was a little frustration but she was extremely professional and kept giving it her all. They were only minor cause for concern and it did not overtly affect the overall sound too negatively. The Courtesans were very much able to capture and hold your attention with their eerie and almost tragic sound. They were able to captivate myself and the audience with their morose but highly infectious tracks such as ‘Feel The Same’ which had guitarist Saffire Sanchez providing some growing atmosphere by using swells from her instrument.

We had a short interlude where we got some band banter from Sinead saying that it’s good to be back and asking if we were all set for King. Naturally, the audience responded well and we came to the final two tracks of the set.

‘Mesmerise’ brought us back into the music and, being one of their main singles, really struck home and delivered a resounding performance. There was so much texture and layers to the song with notes and tones spiralling out by the emotionally charged band. The set was brought to an end with the more groove infused and doom laden ‘Monkey Logic’ which worked as a clever exit for the London outfit. It did appear that the guitars failed but the laptop helped sustain the overall sound and it was still a well executed track. Agnes D. Jones shouted “Fuck the system” as they brought the music to an end. I hope this wasn’t directed at the poor PA technician and King Tut’s sound system, but they went off to a raucous applause from the crowd and it was now time for King 810 to take the stage.

Setlist:
1. The Tide
2. Walking On Waves
3. John Doe
4. Genius
5. Feel The Same
6. Mesmerise
7. Monkey Logic

King 810 [3.5/5] came on as a three piece outfit for the show as Andrew Beal seemed to have been left at home… or on the bus or somewhere else as he wasn’t here this night which was really disappointing. It’s like going to see Exodus without Gary Holt; good, just not the same. Tonight it was just David Gunn, Eugene Gill and drummer Andrew Workman on hand to provide us with the chaotic and bombastic hard stylings of a band molded by chaos and grit. The men from Flint, Michigan have a highly dedicated fan base who were forming round the front all hooded and brandishing their King 810 gear. ‘Heavy Lies The Crown opened up the set and the crowd were primed for the music. When ‘Alpha & Omega’ came on my beer pretty much went flying. I was down in the front but this was a precarious position to be in and as the pits raged, I squeezed my way through the mental audience like an octopus escaping a connect four grid.

There was so much energy coming in from all directions, with David Gunn dominating the stage; throwing his hands as if punching the weight of the world back from his direction. The audience were insatiable and in a constant state of murderous flux. ‘Vendettas’ provided more ammunition to fire off as the members of the crowd and David Gunn joined in vocal harmony as the powerful booms from the amps and PA blasted to every corner. Bassist Eugene Gill was all over the stage and appeared to be possessed by the bounce that also took hold of damn near every person, cat, fish, dog, spider or any other variety of living creature in or near the vicinity. ‘Boogeyman’ was another stand out that kept the betas flying and the maniacal poetry in full aggressive flow.

Although their music and subject matter is more focused on the American side of life and politics – as per the band’s experiences – there was a middle ground that all the crowd seemed to come to then jump around on as one cohesive unit. The anger and angst in the lyrics and music is translatable to many a cultural variety and the Glasgow audience really felt the trauma that is inherit in the world. As the set wore on with ‘Give My People Back’ and Fat Around The Heart’ continued the onslaught, with the pit constantly churning as the set was drawing to its end. It was time for the final track which meant it was time for war as ‘War Time’ exploded and there was a miniature wall of death attempted in the crowd.

It was a great sight to behold as friends grouped together bouncing and venting as one. The only thing missing was their guitarist as it really just did feel a bit plastic when the notes and rhythms of the guitar came through a laptop but it was only a minor qualm and nobody in the crowd cared. I would definitely say that this was another successful night for all the bands and all the people that attended. King 810 may not be for everyone but they certainly were for this mob.

Setlist:
1. Heavy Lies the Crown
2. Alpha & Omega
3. War Outside
4. Murder Murder Murder
5. Vendettas
6. Desperate Lovers
7. Boogeyman
8. Treading and Trodden
9. Give My People Back
10. Fat Around the Heart
11. War Time

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