Audio is a small and dark venue in the depths of Glasgow city centre accessed through a dark street that drives a passage under the city’s central railway station. For those unfamiliar with the building, it’s entirely natural to stop briefly at the end of the street before walking into what can feel slightly intimidating. The venue itself is equally gloomy but in a good way and an evening of stoner rock couldn’t be accommodated anywhere more appropriate.
The venue estimates that 100 tickets have been sold for the visit of New Jersey vets The Atomic Bitch Wax. They have sought the support of two Scottish acts for the show and the first to grace the stage are Multistorey Lover.
Multistorey Lover have travelled south to Glasgow from their home town Perth to take the opening slot of the night. Instantly engaging, the band are a relaxed four piece playing bluesy rock ably staffed by James "Jim Jam" Donaldson (drums), Andy McDonald (guitar), Owen Toole (bass) and Kris Dye (vocals & harmonica).
There is an endearing likability to the band who joke with each other over apparent setlist confusion between songs, laughed off by frontman Dye. The first track achieves an instant win through the musical ability of the band. The rapid fire bass work and rangey vocals are driven by solid percussion and almost understated guitar work.
‘Funky Tree’ is sleazy, chunky and gloriously loose in equal measure and pokes a pointy finger at the 9-5 grind and how it “sucks baws”. Fourth song ‘Bourbon Street’ is a stand out track with Dye adding some sublime southern schmooze on harmonica and Toole’s gritty bass break leading into the solo is thunderous.
The band have a debut EP coming out at the end of the month and with the mission statement at the end of the gig “we play rock n roll but we are polite”, I’d recommend catching this lot whilst they are still raw and unpolished by the business side of playing music. They really can play.
Check them out here -
The second band of the night have the most Scottish of names in Aye-Aye as on first glance, it’s unlikely they have drawn their nom-de-plume from a life on the ocean wave. The three piece of
Spawn (bass vocals), Mac (guitar) and Del (drums) play a doomy stoner metal that is massive in sonic scale and avoids the distractions of theatrics.
Introducing themselves as lemurs from Madagascar was a slightly odd but pleasingly quirky start to the set as the band quietly waited for the thumbs up from the sound desk. The first track was far from quirky however, sending seismic pulses through the venue that competed admirably with those generated by the railway station above the venue.
Second track ‘Red Dust Dog’ took a different approach with an atmospheric picked clean guitar intro that was followed by a guttural bassline that again had the room shaking. Like all good doom metal, the song meandered with an almost hypnotic throb that had the audience moving in tandem. Third song ‘Nocturnal’ has an early Sabbath feel and as the title suggests is a dark, brooding affair with resonating guitars and waves of doom sweeping across the audience. This is the consistent feel to the set and the delivery is solid and doesn’t err from the doom path.
Final track ‘Closer Than Mars’ is altogether sci-fi in feel and the authentic deep space experience was complemented by accident when the stage lights went down. The band played on regardless and awkward glances between the audience were matched by the sound and lighting engineer’s frantic button pushing and sprint to the stage to kick something. This soon had the band illuminated again and they drove through to the final notes. It’s fair to say that ‘Nocturnal’ would have been a more fitting closing track given the pitch-black stage and many would have thought it was deliberate!
Check the guys out here for more info -
The Atomic Bitchwax carry the kind of pedigree many acts envy and they have earned it. The New Jersey three piece have laid claim to delivering ‘Super stoner rock’ and that’s an accurate description - especially the ‘super’. Their music is technically tremendous and sonically splendid and the gathered crowd of one hundred or so punters know this gig is a bit special.
The usual line up of Chris Kosnik (bass and vocals), Finn Ryan (guitar) and Bob Pantella (drums) sees a change for the European tour where Garett Sweeny is filling in on guitar due to Ryan being sick. The resultant line up means the stage is staffed by three Monster Magnet personnel - something that makes the show unique and even more special.
Opening the show with a short instrumental warm up, The Atomic Bitchwax set the scene for the power of the night and instantly impress with the massive sound created for a three piece. They quickly move to ‘Hope You Die’ that stabs, grooves and unleashes a collection of guitar and bass licks across its blunt lyrical message.
The band have a distinct talent for locking in and the melodic tracking of bass and guitar is a sight to behold given the complexity of the music. Kosnik is a master of the bass and doesn’t hide in the performance, instead using tasteful flourishes where needed to fill space and avoid the need for formulaic vocal structures.
The crowd are unusually active for a stoner gig with pogo-ing individuals, banging heads and the odd foot stomp towards the fringes. Kosnik asks “you guys want a slow one or a fast one?”. The response is one we will all have witnessed and prompts a ridiculously fast rendition of ‘The Giant’ that makes my bass playing fingers painful just watching. This furious instrumental gallops, twists and dives through numerous licks and riffs and upon looking around, the audience are mostly left mouth open at the power of the delivery.
The band have a lengthy catalogue but add some diversity to their set with a cover of Deep Purple’s ‘Maybe I’m a Leo’ - a track that I’m not sure even an avid Deep Purple fan will have heard live for some time. ‘Kiss the Sun’ from 2006 album ’Boxriff’ is dedicated to the six women in the crowd who raise their hands when Kosnik asks for a headcount. The song is frantic at points, as many of the songs are, but they are played with precision and the massive crescendo ending would suit the end of a show but it is merely a moment of grandiose playing that leads into the next track.
After a brief interlude, the band return for their encore and play the mighty ‘One Of Those Days’ with its Simple Minds ‘Waterfront’ bass intro (please don’t send hate mail for that reference - it’s a classic) has a section of the crowd pogo-ing such is its trance-inducing rhythm and leads to a perfectly rounded end to a ‘super’ show.
As the motley bunch of punters quickly pour into the dark street outside, I’m comforted that a school night gig in a small venue saw a healthy turn out. The future is bright, the future is super stoner!
These guys aren’t social media reliant but you can catch them here -