If you follow at least half of the most promising bands in Scotland right now on Twitter, you’d know there was something going down at the O2 ABC on Friday night.
Four of these bands - The Cut, The Ninth Wave, WHITE and Baby Strange - took to the stage, with the latter two co-headlining. As end of the year gigs go this one couldn’t have been more celebratory.
After impressive openings from The Cut and The Ninth Wave, the lights cut out and the speakers boom a famous monologue from the film Network,
“Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!…You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!"
Then WHITE appear onstage as the words FUCK 2016 flash behind them. The mood is set instantly: it’s been a grim year but they’re going to end it in style.
The set only lasts about forty-five minutes, but their performance could easily have held the crowd longer. The energy and charisma WHITE have is brilliant to watch, particularly from singer Leo Condie whose crooning falsetto voice has a massive but deserved confidence to it. Their sound ranges from 80s pulsing dance pop to head-banging art rock, and it’s all remarkably polished. Meanwhile their visuals are just as impressive. At times it feels almost like an Andy Warhol show.
WHITE, by Martin D Barker
Baby Strange, in that regard, are a stark contrast - but just as wildly enjoyable. They too have a song of choice to walk on to - Nightclubbing by Iggy Pop - however their setup is much more minimal, which fortunately suits their throwback indie punk sound.
Opening track Nude VVV to the riotous Pleasure Citycauses pits and crowd surfing (the former of which is heavily encouraged by the band). The front half of the room is dominated by carnage; each track on their setlist inducing boozy singalongs. The set never faltered, from the seedy . Having seen them in a tiny room in Dundee just a few months ago, I can see a difference here, and it is incredible.
Towards the end of the set they announce they’re going to do a cover. Young Folks comes a few voices in the crowd, as the Peter Bjorn and John song has become a staple at their shows. They instead play for their late friend Gary Watson of The Lapelles; thrusting everything they've got into an echoey version of Snakehips. Needless to say, it goes down a treat and proves to be one of the highlights of the night. The three of them seem genuinely humbled and emotional when the whole room chants for Gary as the song ends. This entire notion makes for the perfect tribute to a lost friend.
They end the set with Friend which is arguably their most popular track, which is followed by a crowd surf from bassist Aidan McCann.
The gig wasn’t just a triumph for Baby Strange but for all the bands involved. Glasgow’s music scene has a great future in store.