PAWS and Bleached – live review.
PAWS and Bleached.
Glasgow. Nice N’ Sleazy.
Last week we gave up n coming band PAWS ‘Misled Youth Ep’ a pretty good review. Since then one of our reporters has managed to catch them live (albeit supporting Bleached) & reports back below.
It’s been a while since I ventured west to Glasgow for some live music, generally sticking to Edinburgh and the surrounding area, but the promise of PAWS is enough to make the journey. PAWS aren’t the top billing tonight, however. This gig sees them in their role as tour support for Californian band Bleached. After dodging some drunks who want to “hug not hurt”, Nice N’ Sleazy is a welcome sight. Safe in it’s confines, it becomes apparent the “sleazy” part of the name is probably deserved. Graffiti adorns seats and walls alike, but I’m not being entirely serious with the ‘sleazy’ implication. It’s a small, renowned venue with the best jukebox in Scotland. The “nice” part of the name is equally well earned.
After some drinks and chat with the guys from PAWS, I follow downstairs a few minutes later, with friends in tow, just as the band are ready to go. The live area downstairs is pretty small, but there’s a crowd of around 50 I’d say. A little smaller than I anticipated giving PAWS rising stock, having signed with FatCat Records and the press headliners Bleached are getting. It is one day after Stag & Dagger though, so chances are the multi-venue, one day festival has worn out the local gig goers. Regardless, PAWS are off and running in front of the modest crowd.
I may have seen PAWS several times in the last few months but there’s a very good reason for this. They are brilliant live. From the first chord, bass line and drum beat they give 100%. Singer and lead guitarist Phil is a green haired Tasmanian devil with a Fender. He alternates between screeching vocals and tenderly delivered lyrics. These guys have it all. Drummer Josh Swinney literally hits his drums as hard as possible while Matthew Scott matches him ably on his bass guitar. Together the pair make a beautiful racket, providing the backbone to the songs. The sound is incendiary, melodic, heartbreaking and head-breaking all at the same time.
There’s an airing of my personal favourite song ‘Catherine 1956’, which is about Phil’s mother. It’s tender, emotional and beautiful and manages to strike a chord with me every time I hear it. There’s also some songs from the debut EP ‘Misled Youth’, which sound fantastic in the small space. Singer Phil had been suffering from a sore throat, but didn’t hold back on the vocals, at times letting go a primal scream. To see PAWS in full swing is to be excited, exhilarated and blown away by their raw talent and sheer enthusiasm. Tonight was no exception, even if the ever modest Phil apologised for his sore throat. So sore he had to stand several inches from the microphone at one stage so his shriek didn’t kill everyone! No apology needed. It was great.
After a brief interlude, it’s the turn of headliners Bleached. There had been bit on enthusiasm from earlier tour dates, mainly from the PAWS boys, so I was keen to see what these guys had to offer. Fronted by a trio of girls, with a gentleman sat behind his drum kit, the set got off to something of a disappointing start, with lead singer Jennifer Calvin having several issues with her microphone. If I heard “check, check” once, I heard it fifty times. To be fair though, it was hardly her fault. It was eventually fixed though and the wait was worth it. The rhythm section were tight, with the bass sounding nice and meaty, while the two guitars were nice and jangly, sounding lush.
There’s a definite retro feel to the band’s sound. Not quite fully punk, but not really grunge, they sit somewhere near garage on the genre barometer. There’s a touch of the Thee Oh Sees and Veronica Falls in there and it sounds really good. The energy levels are high and the crowd are into it. There’s a nice tempo to the songs and the band are tight, giving the set a nicely polished and professional feel. Personally, I like it a little messy and a small negative would be the guitars sound a little repetitive towards to the end of the gig, but it’s a small nitpick really because I really like the band and judging by the reception I wasn’t alone.
All words Steve Mcgillivray. Steve is on Twitter as @thesteve71