Chris Devotion and The Expectations
Broadcast, Glasgow
25 October 2012

Live review

On this, the opening night of new Glasgow venue Broadcast, local heroes Chris Devotion And The Expectations set the tone for what is hopefully a vibrant new place for bubbling under-level groups.

There’s still wet paint on the doors and walls, the bloke at the box office is randomly letting people in on the guest list, and owner and all-round good chap Paul Cardow is wandering around grinning broadly whilst distributing shots of honey-flavoured Jack Daniels to one and all. Sitting here suffering this morning, I kinda wish he hadn’t.

There’s a good buzz about the new venue and the organised chaos is adding a nice little edge.

Taking the stage in the downstairs live room, Chris Devotion and band swiftly overcome early sound issues to deliver a pulsating set.

Since I first saw them during the summer, CDEX have clearly benefited from a hectic live schedule. They’re tighter, more focused and much more confident onstage.

Devotion is a man who won’t usually use two words onstage when one will do, much at odds with his bubbly, livewire offstage persona. Tonight, however, they’re clearly having a good time. Shapes are thrown, guitars are slung and Devotion, legs astride spits out his venom with aplomb.

I Don’t Need You Anymore is a string-shredding, skin-bursting blitz. Many of Devotion’s songs are underpinned by his, erm, colourful love life and this is a real heartbroken riposte to equal anything a certain Mr.Costello ever spat out.

Graham Christie’s drumming is a flurry of Clem Burke-esque fills, rolls and snare cracks. Despite having his kit sitting sideways onstage (something to do with the other band having a percussionist) Christie drives the band on with energy and fiery abandon. There’s little respite between songs, its quickfire smash and grab into each punk/powerpop molotov cocktail.

The Expectations can all sing, too. The backing vocals add a real colour and gravitas to Devotion’s part crooner, part Iggy voice. The twin guitar attack of Devotion and sideman Colin Reid wind and slash across each other recalling some of The Replacements wilder moments.

One could describe their sound as powerpop or pop-punk but that would be doing them a disservice. The Expectations are from an older, deeper place.

Think The 13th Floor Elevators, The MC5, Ramones and the best of ‘77 punk, add a hefty dose of classic songwriter smarts and you’re closer to the mark.

This is a band who have little excess in their songs. They’re short, fast and extremely memorable. Their debut album Amalgamation And Capital, released earlier this year is a contender, as far as I’m concerned, for album of the year.

There’s not a weak song on it, something that’s rare these days. It’s a joyous, bittersweet call to arms that, in a parallel universe, would be all over the radio.

Leading the band into a walloping cover of Woodie Guthrie song I Ain’t Got No Home, Devotion has a wild-eyed glint in his eye. He knows his band is good.

Give this band an iota more of self-belief and a sharpening of image and they’d be world beaters.

Right now, tonight, they’re the only show in town.

All words by Joe Whyte. You can read more from Joe on LTW here.

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