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Halo Tora @ Stereo, Glasgow


Halo Tora @ Stereo, Glasgow

Tonight was my first taste of Halo Tora live and the only thought going through my head as I left this grubby, sweaty and totally brilliant venue was “why the hell are these guys not massive?

Due to the earlier start I missed most of The Belafonte’s set which was a shame as they looked to be going down a treat. The band class themselves as Alt-rock but that can cover many bases in this day and age but for me they are far more akin to indie. The band now how to play and can work an audience(except for some dodgy one liners and a lot of bromance).

I will keep my eyes peeled out for the guys in the future.

Bear Arms were also virgin territory for me tonight, I had neither heard or seen them so bang! here was my first slap in the face tonight, Jesus this band were incredible. Another tagged under the alternative genre and as I said above this genre covers too much as they were completely different from the openers.

The dual vocals set them aside and they slipped into one of my favourite things from 2000 music. I just love contrasting vocals, the dark and light, the angel and demon, call it what you will I love it. The sound is definitely more up my street with melodic tinged with violence. The sound has a brutal edge which won me over instantly.

Tie this up with a battered and bruised telecaster, a guitarist like a duracell bunny on speed and drop in a song like “Empty Vessel” and I was in heaven. Why I have not came across these guys before I have no idea but I can assure you that I will be following everything that they do from now on. They have definitely garnered a massive fan with just one short set and a cracking slice of vinyl purchased on the night. Remember the name…it is not going away.

OK, I cannot plead complete ignorance over Halo Tora, plenty of my friends have banded about the name and to be fair they are well known in Glasgow but I had always kind of shied away from the band. Anyone that knows me will know I am very, very particular when it comes to a Prog band. Prog was never my thing to be fair but over the years there have been a few bands that have ticked all my boxes…going back a long way it was Rush, for more modern times Queensryche were a big thing for me but when you veer off to what people call the classics like Pink Floyd(dare I say this????) I get a bit bored(gulp).

So why am I even here tonight you say? Well, I was kind of dragged here but I did think it was time to check out what this band were about and it was a hell of a good decision. I was taken aback at how technically brilliant they were first of all. Then when you wrap in the quality of the songs and the sheer atmospherics they manage to create you have no choice to love what they do.

The songs themselves demand a huge stage, a massive stage set and an array of lights. Glasgow is not short of big bands but take two names from here in Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic( two bands I would say slot into a similar fan base) and Halo Tora shoot them down in flames, hands down I would pay more to see this band again.

For a band to be so set in contemporary prog music to win me over is no mean feat I can assure you but just listen to a song like “Under The Surface” and you will see what I am talking about. An incredible journey from opening bar to closer. The guitars tell the story, the keyboard set the atmospherics like one of those horror move chase clips. The song takes you in with a simple lyric, single keys and comes bursting at you with guitars. This is prog genius wrapped in six minutes.

This band just like the best in the business should never be judged on a recording, these can be cold, dull and lose all manner of ideas. No, any band should be judged on a live performance and by god can this band perform. Their live sound is huge, none of the albums atmospherics are lost and in this sweat pit of a venue, walls crumbling, inches from the band you can see what halo Tora are about.

They weave a tapestry with their skills, they grab you by the ears and eyes and do not let go. Once again we have dual vocals but this band use them completely differently. Each vocal chosen to help tell the story written within the lyrics.

For a set completely new to me the highlights were “Age Of terror”, “The Bones That Rock The Cradle” and “Permanent Revolution” but each and every song spoke to me, the compositions tug at the heart strings, raise you up and drag you down. Halo Tora are the real deal, an incredible talent and I am proud to say one of my own. Every time I think the Glasgow scene cannot produce anything more I am slapped down and made to feel stupid. There is no other town like this, for all its woes, its depravity, its dark history it soars like one of the bands songs and it reaches for greatness.

If this band do not break big I give in as these proggy mutherfuckers deserve the world on a plate.

Images and review Ritchie Birnie

Halo Tora

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