Altered Sky @ The Garage, Glasgow
This was the big one, Altered Sky took a gamble and booked the main stage at The Garage. It has been a while since they played their home town after a successful tour promoting their brilliant debut album “ Without Wonderland”. Would the gamble pay off? let’s see…
But before I get to that(as he draws out the tension) we had some support bands on tonight, four to be precise but due to the early start and me being as sick as a dog(man flu is real people) I missed Beyond Recall and Take Today but everyone was raving about them. My first band of the evening was one I was familiar with. Magik Trik hail from Glasgow and I have seen them support many a band in this fair city, each time growing in confidence and just like tonight’s headliners playing on their biggest stage to date.
These four youngsters impressed me the first time I saw them and with each passing gig they get better, more cohesive and so much tighter as a band. I really do not know where these guys picked up so much much soul in a city that can have a very dark side at times. They are a complete throwback to flares, paisley shirts and velvet jackets. Their sound oozes Zeppelin, Hendrix and a good chunk of The answer.
You just have to listen to their EP “ By The Stone” to be taken back four decades. Songs like “Stray Dog”, “Ripped-Hide Blues” and title track “By The Stone” are classic 70s and although the recording is as raw as you can get the live performance is outstanding. They play these songs with gusto and they are far better crafted on a stage, the screaming is better placed and whole package is wrapped together so much better.
The big stage suited them to a tea and it saw Shaun Kilna on bass jumping around like a punk rocker in their heyday. Jake-Mackie-Duncan is battering the living daylights out of his drums and David Mackfarlane is…well, being himself. The man may look like an off the rails Buddy Holly but he can sing and he can play some mean guitar but tonight he is mostly going for straight vocals which gives him room to roam, normally that would be on the stage but even that is not big enough for him as we see him take to the floor and mingle with the audience twice tonight. The fist time is when their brilliant cover of “Voodoo Chile” kicks off and he leaves the amazingly talented Alek McMillan to do his thing. He takes off to the bar as Alek takes us on a voyage across his fretboard. This boy oozes cool and talent.
This was the best I have ever seen these boys and their sound was huge in this hall but don’t take my word for it if you are up this way as they are supporting The Dead X111 in Glasgow and Edinburgh on 30/31st of October…go check them out.
Miami Monroe were new to me tonight which in itself a feat as I get around the venues in this town. They were perfectly placed to play before the headliners as they were out and out 90s punk. Punk with flair, punk with balls and punk with fun.
They brought a fair share of their own fans tonight and it was great to see the boys lapping it up and playing the stage. The energy levels were lifted and they brought their A game and a sackful of punchy, uplifting songs. I will be looking out for these guys the next time they play.
Now to the icing on the cake, I won’t beat around the bush as Altered Sky were truly outstanding tonight. The best thing for me to see was a packed venue before they had even come onstage. The crowd were ready for this one that is for sure and as soon as “American Idiot” blasted out of the PA the crowd knew it was close. The fans were singing at the top of their voices until it all went quiet…and then pitch black…the tension grows as anyone who has seen this band before realise this is something new. We see drummer Amy in silhouette as she rushes past and sneaks behind her kit and then we are all in awe as her drum kit is lit in spotlights…the only part of the stage not in the shadows. Then the shadows get a bit darker and whole lot weirder as a hooded and masked Ana slowly makes her way across the stage to huge cheers. We cannot really see the steampunk mask but the outline of the huge beak glimmers in the light of her lantern, a lantern that is creeping into things quite a bit at the moment. I am sure there is more to this story.
She makes her way to the front of the drum kit where there is one solitary drum and the two girls commence battle…what an entrance and the crowd love it. From there we break into “ This War is Mine” and the bar has been set.
I maybe should have been back at home, in my bed moaning and groaning and in complete agony but I was never going to miss this show and boy did I make the right choice. The band took the gamble, they rolled the dice but there was no element of luck involved in the outcome at all. Make no mistake, this band work their asses off and I will be honest I get a few looks when I say I am an Altered Sky fan, my tastes usually veer more to the heavier end of the spectrum but each and every time I get those looks or the questions I always say the same thing…you have to see them live. I love everything they have recorded but I saw them live first and there was no going back after that show.
I have seen each and every song played tonight many times but they have never sounded larger, better or so full. They were so loud but crystal clear from Ana’s pitch perfect vocals to Ryan and Richard’s guitars, backed up by pounding beats from Amy and Ross(please keep your eye out for an upcoming pledge as the man needs new jeans).
The sound on songs like “Where I Belong”, “ Songbird” and fan favourite and now oldie “Apple Tree” were fantastic, so good in fact this gig should have been recorded. The crowd was in fine voice too, especially on “Bury It All” so take a bow if you were there.
We also got to see Ana, Ryan and Ross take a seat at the front of the stage and play at eye level, another great addition to the set, it also gave Ana a chance to thank the fans for the support and to those who had travelled great distances to get there(and a lot farther than Hamilton).
This just left the Encore(After some serious chanting from the crowd) of “LiveWire” and my all time favourite “Stupid In The dark”, two songs that epitomises this band and their live performance. This was a hell of a set from the band, the best I have witnessed and with this level of progression and the likes of Kerrang and Skuzz finally catching on and giving them some airplay I can see the heights of 2016 being shattered next year. There is only one way for this band to go and I will be with them every step of the way, you should get on board now, you will not regret it.
A huge well done to the band and everyone involved, you do us proud every time you take to that stage.
Images and review Ritchie Birnie