HANDS OFF GRETEL / VISCERAL NOISE DEPARTMENT / AWOL - Audio, Glasgow 28.10.18

CHRIS STONES

HANDS OFF GRETEL are renowned for their live performances and tonight they play their second Scottish show on the last night of their UK tour. Tonight’s show in Audio, Glasgow will lead to a short break before the band head out on the road again with THE VIRGINMARYS.

 

The first of two support acts tonight are local three-piece ALWAYS WAITING ON LYNN (AWOL). The band play a fresh take on punk rock with Clare Lynn (guitar and vocals), Billy J Milne (bass) and Brian (drums) enjoying a no-nonsense approach to their material. The lyrics are written from the heart and are entirely original with tracks such as ‘Home’ and ‘Another Drink’ providing a solid foundation for Clare Lynn’s admirable vocal range.

 

The engine room is worthy of mention with thundering bass and Ramones-like 4/4 drumming that drive solidly across the set. The band are capable of stepping out of the pace material too with track ‘Hey Johnnie’ changing pace and grabbing for the emotion of the man at the heart of the song.

It’s nice to hear honest, hard-working musicians playing their hearts out and AWOL do just that.

 

Check them out on socials here -

https://www.facebook.com/AwolAlwaysWaitingOnLynn/

VISCERAL NOISE DEPARTMENT take the evening in a different direction as only a band of this talent can. The seemingly ever-changing roles on stage of Mike Werninck (guitar and vocals), Pete Werninck (guitar), Jenny Tingle (drums) and Brenden Crow (bass) make for an interesting night where guitars are swapped, capos misplaced and shoulders barged.

 

The set raises laughs before a note is played as Werninck shields his eyes from the stage lights to try and locate Crow who is seemingly queuing at the bar. With the band fully staffed, a performance that slips from rock to funk to blues and everything in-between is gloriously delivered with smiles and in-band jokes aplenty.

 

VND may play across styles but they do so with beautifully crafted consistency, with tracks such as ‘Modern City Blues’ and ‘Fetishising Struggle’ showing the power, vigour and grit of the band. There is humour in the work too with “Wasted’ being introduced as the “last known conversation between Aristotle and Plato”. Crow is as animated as I’ve seen on stage recently and his physical exertions are rewarded eventually by a dislodged guitar lead that sees him ‘sing’ the guitar solo. Wonderful stuff!

 

These are a reassuringly tight set of musicians who clearly have a strong bond that flows from the stage into the audience. They made me smile - I like ’em.

 

Check them out here (their web page is loaded with tracks) -

https://www.facebook.com/visceralnoisedepartment/

https://vndglasgow.wixsite.com/band

 

HANDS OFF GRETEL deserve a mention for watching the support bands tonight. Front and centre and dancing along - Lauren Tate (vocals and guitar), Sean McAvinue (guitar), Sam Hobbins (drums) and Becky Baldwin (bass) do what all headliners should so respect due for that.

 

With a decent crowd gathered, there are some in the venue who follow the band. One of those is proudly wearing a coat (with tails) that not only features the band logo but also neon piping that glows red throughout the night. There’s a first! The band themselves are engaging and dramatic with Tate being the star of the show. Ploughing through their punky armoury, songs like new single ’S.A.S.S.’ and ‘Kiss Me Girl’ have a gritty grunge feel with raw bass and overdriven guitars.

    

Many of the tracks are simple but effective - this isn’t a band who torture guitar solos or change direction for artistic effect, instead, keeping things brutally focused. The lyrical content is sometimes cutting as issues such as women in music and how they can be treated, being called out. This makes for a show that the crowd can relate to on a number of levels. Even this ageing reviewer felt the passion of the night and could feel the determination.

 

The band drive hard towards the venue’s curfew and have used the time well with ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ by The Stooges played as a ‘final’ song. Those in the know realise this isn’t the final track and a short spell offstage leads to an upbeat encore.

 

2016 single ‘My Size’ is a strong choice for the final track of the night with its powerful delivery, choppy guitars and venom. Tate’s commitment to putting on a show tonight has been unwavering and she finds herself on the stage floor in the last few bars. This has been a great show with a true connection achieved between audience and artist....what more can I say?

 

Check out the dates for their next shows and their rich selection of videos here -

https://www.facebook.com/handsoffgretel/

https://www.handsoffgretel.co.uk/

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