DARKNESS DIVINE / LAST ALIBI - Classic Grand, Glasgow 20.10.18
PHOTO CREDITS: GAVIN ROSS PHOTOGRAPHY
The Classic Grand in Glasgow is a former cinema which first opened way back in 1915 and finally closed its doors as a cinema in 1992 having deteriorated into a venue catering for the softer side of the adult entertainment industry.
With the men in long raincoats having long gone, the art deco venue reinvented itself as a live music venue and has hosted artists ranging from Lordi to Adele play its small stage since reopening.
Tonight's gig is part of the Pre-Hallows Ball and features LAST ALIBI and DARKNESS DIVINE as support acts for the two tribute bands who are headlining. Entering the venue and climbing the stairs I quickly remember that this is a fancy dress affair as I pass a man dressed as a skeleton talking to another man dressed as a nun.
The first band of the evening are LAST ALIBI who I first saw live supporting Chris Glen and The Outfit earlier in 2018 where they impressed and I was looking forward to seeing them again tonight.
This 4-piece Glasgow based band with influences such as Whitesnake, The Quireboys and Black Stone Cherry they have been together for just over 2 years and have some impressive musical credentials with guitarist Andy Christie playing with tribute act Gallus Cooper and bassist Allen Bell playing for Maiden Scotland.
Taking to the stage the first thing you notice is that the band have adopted the fancy dress theme of the evening with bass player Bell dressed as the Statue of Liberty but with a neon mask covering his face with 2 large X’s as eyes and a stitched up neon smile that would scare the children away from an open fire. Drummer Callum Flint, resplendent in suit and tie also has a “morph” suit on underneath, his face entirely covered just like the invisible man.
Opening with the track ‘Angel Instincts’ the band soon had the assembled crowd paying attention. With killer riffs a plenty from guitarist Christie and superb vocals from Jamie Ramage to match his perfectly coiffured hair, this is clearly a night where the music takes front and centre over the costumes.
Drummer Flint is certainly no invisible man with his drumming prowess, pounding out the beats in good time and is equally matched by Bell in one of the most solid pieces of bass playing I have seen in a long time.
A few songs in, Flint has dispensed with his costume and is now behind his kit stripped to the waist as the band power through their short set. The stand out track for me being the slower and more bluesy ‘The Prophet and The Thief’ which leads into the most amazing cover of ‘House of the Rising Sun’, allowing the whole band to display their skills as the crowd sing along.
Finishing off their set with their debut single ‘Vice City’ it is clear this is a band that means business, the track, as the crowd clearly agreed, being instantly likeable and almost forcing you to sing along.
The band are currently in the process of recording an EP for release in the near future and their debut single can be found on all the usual streaming sites.
Jamie Ramage - Vocals
Andy Christie - Guitar
Allen Bell – Bass
Callum Flint – Drums
Down The Front Media have featured DARKNESS DIVINE a couple of times and they have never failed to disappoint either live or on their debut EP entitled ‘Prelude’.
The theme of Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles pervades the band’s fancy dress stage attire this evening with only singer Benedetti-Martin not donning an eye mask or head gear of some description, opting instead for a more sensible outfit for the energetic performance.
Opening with a newer track, and one not from their EP, ’Mirror’ is a hard hitting track fuelled by the dual guitars of Fulton and McShane and has the crowd grabbed tightly and draws in the few amongst us who have not heard of the band prior to this evening.
The stage is instantly controlled by Benedetti-Martin who has a presence that forces you to watch. Her energy is apparently boundless and equally matched by the obvious skill displayed by McNeil’s bass playing as he continually smiles throughout and clearly enjoys playing in the live environment.
Drummer John Martin, decked in a half face turtle mask as homage to the evenings theme, pounds away at his kit with controlled abandon whilst making it look effortless.
This 5-piece band from Glasgow are clearly in command of their performance and the hard work they have put into homing their craft over the last year or so is paying off for them in spades.
Without letting up in pace or vigour, in fact the pace increases somewhat, the band waste no time in airing a couple of tracks from their debut EP before once more straying into new territory with the non-EP track ‘Stranger’ which is well received by the appreciative crowd and has been played a few times in their live set.
Pausing slightly for breath, singer Benedetti-Martin announces the absolute stand out track, the first they really became known for, ‘Hyde’. An absolute stormer of a track, the ferocity of the lyric is matched by the head banging of Benedetti-Martin as the remaining members of the band join in unison.
Half way through the track, Bennedetti-Martin is on the barrier at the front, as if beckoning the crowd to come ever closer as she screams out the message of the song.
Once more the dual guitars of Fulton and McShane at the start of the track set up the solo to follow later perfectly, it just never stops in its relentless charge to hook you in and the band have a real storm of a track on their hands with this song.
Finishing their half hour set with the opening track from their EP ‘Digression’, this is as good a metal track as you will ever hear. With what has become their trademark guitar sound, rock solid hard hitting relentless drumming and a fantastic melodic bass intertwined with an outstanding guitar solo in the middle and a clear as a bell vocal performance, this track is the perfect way, other than having another half an hour of this band live, to end a show.
The bands tagline on social media says that they are blending melodicism & ferocity, are beastly live and catchy as fuck. That is a pretty accurate description.
Leaving the stage to huge applause from the crowd, it is clear that this is a band who have travelled a long way in a short period of time to reach this standard of live performance. I have every faith that they will be around for a long time to come and will reach newer and bigger heights soon.
Toni Benedetti-Martin - Vocals
John "Pinky" Martin - Drums
Gary McNeill - Bass
Dave Fulton - Lead Guitar
Graeme McShane - Lead Guitar
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