I’ve had a bit of a writing hiatus, and I’ve certainly never written a gig review before, but seeing The Orielles play at a sold-out G2 in Glasgow on Wednesday inspired me to sign back into my blog and get typing. It was too good not to share.
Arriving at the gig, we were just in time to catch Paisley four-piece, Ghostbaby set the scene for the evening with loud, upbeat guitar riffs and somewhat melancholy drum smashes, playing a handful of tracks from their upcoming EP, to be released in the near future. A band’s stage presence can make or break a gig, and the Paisley boys did not fail to fill the stage with enthusiasm, letting their music do most of the talking, pausing only briefly to remind us that they are Ghostbaby, a band who “like drinking beer, playing rock and roll and petting dogs”. As is often the way, the crowd at this early stage of the gig was relatively small in numbers, though this did not hamper the band – and it was a treat for all us early birds. If you’re going to a gig, please do try get down to see the opening support acts if you can. It makes a big difference to them and you might just find your new favourite local up-and-coming band. As crowds steadily flowed into the small, yet cleverly laid-out venue, Ghostbaby thanked Mr. Ben and The Bens for the use of their kit, and made way for them to take their turn on the stage.
Donned in cool, white denim jackets, Mr. Ben and The Bens (accompanied by a figurine of Mr. Ben in his bowler hat sitting atop of an amp) played us into the 2nd hour of the gig, bringing joyful indie pop. Lead vocalist – Mr. Ben himself – Ben Hall sung through songs from previous EPs, as well as their latest LP, ‘Who Knows Jenny Jones?‘ with effortless pitch changes similar to that of Dutch Uncles and Outfit. Occasional toots of a trumpet played to my love of music with a jazzy twist, and made for an impressive performance by Hall; quickly switching between vocals, trumpet and guitars. Perhaps the best part of the Lancashire quartet’s performance though (other than the whimsical ‘Fall In Love Again‘) was their attitude. Often bands choose to appear firm and emotionless on stage, however this was not the case. Every smile between members, and each grind of the teeth at instrument obscurities was on show, something that I really enjoyed. Mr. Ben and The Bens are a relatable group of young artists, coming together to create bouncy musical melodies and love every second of it. I’m very glad to have discovered their music, and in the best way – hearing it all loud and live.
After a brief break – which I used as an opportunity to shuffle through the now packed G2 and pick up a copy of ‘Who Knows Jenny Jones?‘ on clear vinyl complete with riso-printed zine, along with two prints, created by Mr. Ben himself that now decorate Fergus and I’s walls – came the turn of the lead act; Halifax’s The Orielles.
Taking to the stage without a word and swiftly entering into the 60s-crime-mystery-style intro of ‘Come Down On Jupiter‘, the first single from their new LP, The Orielles sparked dancing and head bobbing throughout the crowd in every direction. Equipped with custom bright orange leads, Henry Carlyle created silky guitar riff magic, whilst Esme-Dee Hand-Halford brought infectious bass-lines combined with perfect vocals, Sidonie Hand-Halford never missing a beat on drums, with Emily Zurowski joining the band on catchy keys. Guitarist Henry took to fronting the band between songs, bringing Yorkshire charm to Glasgow (a city that they love) with a “Ta very much” in response to wild crowd reactions after each song, commenting on the brief moment of sunshine spotted earlier in the day – it was my first time seeing sun in Glasgow too. Hearing a carefully curated set of numbers from their debut LP, ‘Silver Dollar Moment‘ and their newest release, ‘Disco Volador‘ in an intimate setting like G2 was nothing short of brilliant. Basslines boomed, bringing in the crowd favourite, ‘Bobbi’s Second World‘, to a host of chants of “She’s a lady now!“. Listening to their catalogue of sometimes offbeat yet perfectly flowing songs is fantastic on vinyl and even digitally, but hearing it live gave an even greater appreciation of craft that the young musicians put into every piece of music that leaves their studio. Disco Volador transports us into cosmic plains, a world where “we’re all natural dancers, like the distant bodies in the solar system“, an album filled with mysterious sounds and the wonder of astral travel and alien abduction to further galaxies. Leaving the stage in the same fashion as they came on, without a word, the four-piece were applauded greatly from a crowd chanting for “One more tune!“, to which they replied with a return and ‘Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme)‘ which descended into a medley of riffs and melodies from songs that we fans know and love.
The gig seemed to come to an end all too soon; it was an affair that could have lasted into the early hours, the band with a seemingly endless energy mirrored by the crowd. Thank you for my favourite gig so far, The Orielles.
‘Disco Volador‘ landed on Earth yesterday (28.02.20) on Heavenly Recordings and is available on limited coloured vinyl here.