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The Hotelier, Stereo, Glasgow

  • Published in Live

Despite last year's Goodness being my first proper introduction to The Hotelier, I can't help but feel they are the band my heart was yearning for about seven years ago, which is about the time they first formed. The band blend the strands of Biffy Clyro and angst, the two flavours of choice throughout my high school years.

On their second visit to Glasgow, they play Stereo, an appropriately tight basement venue in which to broadcast their sound. That latest record is well represented, with the one-two of 'Soft Animal' and 'Sun' showcasing a duo of the stand out tracks, whilst an encore of 'Opening Mail For My Grandmother' was a fittingly endearing end to the evening.

Euphoric singalongs of 'Your Deep Rest' and 'An Introduction To The Album' made me guilty of my unfamiliarity with the band's second - and perhaps seminal - record Home, Like Noplace Is There. There's a late New Year Resolution in there, and I hope to be able to scream along those same lyrics should the band return.

Like those aforementioned Scottish rockers, The Hotelier's sound borders on epic, yet unlike that trio they have a much more tangible grip on emotional songwriting. Starting with Christian Holden's lyrics and crooning vocal performance, and ending with some enthralling loud-quiet flows on the instrumentation, the Massachusetts outfit know how to jerk a tear.

Despite starting 15 minutes early, following a swift soundcheck, the band simply launched into their set with gusto, and the tentative Glasgow crowd was likely treated some additional tracks to make up the difference, which is an unexpected treat. Throughout the set, Holden gives sincere thanks to the crowd, and they respond thanks in the form of singing and dancing.

There's no frills here, just an emotive band who've traveled thousands of miles to play to their eager fans, and at the end of night everyone appeared to have lifted spirits, and surely that's all the matters? Gratefully received, The Hotelier's dynamic emo-tinged sounds are welcome in Glasgow, and it was a pleasure to watch them play, and to be part of such an emphatic crowd.


Ex Hex, Stereo, Glasgow

  • Published in Live


Seldom do I really look forward to a gig with as much expectation as twenty years ago. Jaded by age and experience no doubt. With Ex Hex's Rips being a firm favourite amongst last year's album releases, however, the chance to see the band in performance was a prospect that got the juices flowing like old times.

Add to that the fact that I'd somehow previously managed to never see a show in Stereo and the checking out of a new venue added an extra element to the night ahead. Turns out it's quite a sweatbox, enjoys good sound, only has one slightly unfortunately placed pillar and they like to get gigs on and off pretty swiftly.

With that said then Ex Hex were on stage not much shy of 9pm, getting lavish praise from the hipster fanboys at stage left and heading into all the good works from Rips - 'How You Got That Girl', 'War Paint', 'Everywhere' etc. In keeping with their '70s glam sound a cover of The Sweet's 'Fox On The Run' duly made it into the set later on.

Extended solos from each instrument and guitar duels were all part of the energetic performance but overall my expectations weren't met. No doubt I was expecting the songs to be smashed out at a pace slightly greater than on record but that wasn't the case on the night, which left things a bit ploddy for me by the end of the show. A paradox maybe but not one the bulk of the audience seemed to suffer so probably all good in that respect.

Touring support came from the Jacuzzi Boys who I'd been equally keen to see despite also having the option in a couple of weeks time at Le Guess Who? in Utrecht. They charged through 'Smells Dead', 'Seventeen', 'Strange Exchange', 'Mt. Sinai' and a shed load more, accomplished one of the coolest in-set cable reconnections I've seen on a stage and generally deserved a far better (i.e. dancing) reaction than the enthusiastic but polite rounds of applause the audience doled out. On this evidence they're a must-see in Holland.

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