Review: The Dead XIII – Shadow Sound, Glasgow

The horror show comes back to Glasgow with The Dead XIII driving the hearse as fast as they can to the graveyard of brutality, morbidity, and fun. Talking of graveyards, who would love to see this band perform a midnight show in one? The entrance could be digging themselves out of a grave (nice video idea guys? My intellectual marketing rights are paid in beer, so don’t stress about costs).

Before we get to the rocked up Addams family, we have three other bands to cover, the first of which was local boys Magic Trik. I managed to catch the tail end of their support slot at last year’s Altered Sky gig, and I was instantly impressed, so when I saw the guys were playing tonight, I was glad I got the chance to see them do a full show.

I will be honest, in that the guys really weren’t a great mix with the headliners and main support, but I am also a great believer that good music will always shine… and shine these boys did. The crowd, in this tiny, dark sweatshop of a venue, were very laid-back and quiet at the start, which I did put down to the differing sound they have to The Dead XIII. For the first two songs of the set I was enjoying them, but not as much as I had when first seeing them. I was scratching my head a bit until they decided to do an outstanding cover of Led Zep’s ‘Rock’ N’ Roll’. It was at this point their whole set completely changed. Everyone loves a cover, so it got the crowd a bit more involved, but for me that song was just a catalyst. From here on in the band sunk into a real blues/rock vibe, and never gave up. Thinking it through later, their first two songs were far more straight up hard rock, but the blues is where this band should focus. For one, singer/guitarist David McFarlane’s vocals suit the lower end so much better. The band just seemed so much happier and confident when they hit this groove. As much as everyone played their part in this band, I have to say Alek McMillan shone like a lighthouse. His blues guitar work was fantastic, his slide work beautiful, and I could not take my eyes off his work on the fretboard. He was outstanding. So, after the slow start, my faith was well and truly put back in place by the third song. A great band that, if they focus on the bluesy side of their stuff, could really step up and turn a good few heads in the industry.

The next band was Strange Creatures, and I could not agree more with their name. How the hell they got on this gig, I do not know. They were as out of place as a 50″ TV in Stevie Wonder’s bedroom. My mother always taught me that if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing… so I will end it there.

Now Griever are a different animal altogether. A perfect fit for The Dead XIII, and a great warm up for the crowd. This Metalcore five piece from Bournemouth tore Glasgow a new one. They did not have much to work with stage-wise, or venue-wise, but they had a mosh pit going almost immediately. The dark clothes and whitened faces worked well in this dim, shady, dank, and claustrophobic venue. The band played a stormer, with the vocals bouncing back and forward between David and Luke. A perfect division between light and dark, love and hate, angels and demons. The band looked so contained tonight, so I would love to see them in a larger venue to see how badass they really are let out of the cage. For a little taster check out their latest video HERE.

Now to the band I have been desperate to see since I first heard “Catacombs” (see review HERE). I was gutted I first heard it about two weeks after they played Glasgow, and I thought I would have to wait much longer to see them, so I was delighted when I saw this gig announced.

The album was one of the stand out releases of 2015 for me. Whether that was down to an overload of ‘alt rock’, I have no idea, but this one stood out like Herman Munster at a dwarf convention. Through all those perfect, precise, and miraculously clean releases, I had found the gutter. The stench of rotting carcasses transposed into music. I just loved it. One of my all time favourite artists is Alice Cooper, and The Dead XIII sink their teeth into his torso and back catalogue. They get him and where he was coming from all those years ago, when he said fuck your mainstream music.

The Dead XIII have twisted and adapted it for a new generation. They have industrialised it to hell and back, and stuck in a kind of dark pop through almost every song. This gives a really cool edge live. I didn’t know how it would go live, but I had no need to worry, as these songs brought a party atmosphere to the wake.

The set consisted mainly of tracks from ‘Catacombs’, but we also got some from their “Creatures Of The Night” EP (oh, so very Rocky Horror). I enjoyed the older tracks as I hadn’t heard them before (Do not worry, I bought it on the night, and it is playing as I type), but the new songs I have lived and breathed since I first heard them were the winners for me. ‘XIII’ was awesome live… I wish they had played it more than once.

I really have some big expectations of this band. It is going to take just one break, one festival appearance, or one brilliant support slot, and everyone will be speaking about The Dead XIII… and I hope it is soon, as I really do not want to drag myself back to this venue (but I will if I have too).

Thank you for a great night guys. You put a smile on my face last year, and a twinkle in my cold, dead, fish eyes last night… If this is what death is like, bring it on.

Review/Images: Ritchie Birnie

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Review: Altered Sky – Glasgow G2, 30th Nov 2015

Introducing The Dead XIII

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