Tonight’s show is an all Australian affair with CALIGULA'S HORSE arriving in Glasgow with their fellow countrymen CIRCLES and I BUILT THE SKY. The venue is suitably full and deservedly so as all three bands are renowned for their musicianship.
I BUILD THE SKY step onto the stage to a warm reception and add an instant spark to the evening with their instrumental progressive rock/metal. The band is the product of impresario Ro Han who’s guitar playing is melodic, technical and entertaining in equal measure. His accomplices Sam Tan (bass), and Rob Brens (drums) are solid and tight with a clear bond that allows their guitarist the space, and foundation to fly.
The set has highlights and (ironically) no-lights at one point where the stage is plunged into darkness. The band smile and play on until a modest cheer is heard as the engineer turns something off and back on again - lighting the threesome again. The band have recently released single ‘Celestial’ and this is a clear highlight in the set. That is until Ro Han instigates a wall of death in the crowd. When there are no lyrics to sing, he obviously enjoys the interaction. The crowd play along with vigour and the night continues in this vein for the other bands too.
Check them out here -
CIRCLES continue the progressive theme of the night with their choppy, often staccato delivery that is played perfectly. The band have grown since their debut album back in 2013 and their songs are well constructed, achieving something that prog often doesn’t - the songs are catchy.
Ben Rechter (lead vocals/guitar), Ted Furuhashi (guitar/backing vocals), David Hunter (drums) and Drew Patton (bass guitar / screamed vocals) employ crisp rhythm, gut-churning bass and hooky riffs. Something that is particularly worthy of mention is the quality of the vocal harmonies - these add an extra element that layers the music beautifully.
The crowd interaction is good again and the Aussie wit is on point when hecklers are engaged even if not understood. The crowd are feisty tonight and the wall of death earlier has morphed into a circle pit. The result sees the prog chin-strokers pushed to the sides of the room so as to avoid human contact.
CIRCLES are talented. Very talented. Check them out here -
CALIGULA'S HORSE are widely hailed as being among the premier league of progressive rock and the reviews of their releases and live shows have been nothing short of glowing. Their global appeal sees them playing festivals in both Europe and the States but their current tour has been considerable in scale and tonight is the final stretch of that journey.
Jim Grey (vocals), Adrian Goleby (guitar), Dave Couper (bass/vocals), Josh Griffin (drums) and Sam Vallen (lead guitar) are not the original line up of the band but their relationships are as strong as any veteran group. This is particularly evident on stage with their huge confidence which translates as a band that seems to be capable of playing arenas.
The band have a set list but weeks on the road demands variety and a crowd vote between two tracks (‘Turntail’ and ‘Rust’) receives a raucous response (‘Rust’ won). That variety is satisfied by the crowds they have met over the tour and tonight is no exception with some good-humoured heckling again. Grey is the consummate frontman - not taking himself too seriously but commanding the room at one point asking “You guys up for a bit of a singalong?”.
The bands most recent album ‘In Contact’ is a glorious piece and the band dip into the album with ‘Fill My Heart’ and ‘The Cannon’s Mouth’ but the standout track must be ‘Graves’. This track is a behemoth and Grey acknowledges that being the headline band they can enjoy some self-indulgence.
Rather than leaving the stage to return for an encore (and to avoid the cramped dressing room), the band asks the crowd to turn and face the back of the room. Among the laughs and nudges, the crowd are happy to play along and on turning back, the band play out the night.
This was a night of high-quality musicianship with some fun along the way. Seeing three bands on the same bill from the southern hemisphere is a treat and I’m glad we were there.
Go have a look at the band here -