Band Of Skulls - O2 ABC
Live Review

Band Of Skulls – O2 ABC, Glasgow

Rock trio Band Of Skulls have been busy of late, supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers in the USA before playing headline dates in Mexico. They flew back to start an eleven date UK tour, and opened with a blistering show in Glasgow last night. On stage for well over an hour, the band played songs from both of their albums to a large and loud crowd who appreciated a fine set.

The support band for this tour is Folks from Manchester, who were on stage at the early time of 7:30, meaning that the hall was less than half full. The six piece band played a decent indie rock set, with their current single My Mother standing out. Their lead singer has a strong voice and the drummer was very energetic, particularly on the closing rocker Skull And Bones.

Band Of Skulls started their set in gentle fashion with Hometowns from their latest album, Sweet Sour. Guitarist Russell Marsden stood stage right, playing the first of a series of guitars he would swap between, keeping his guitar tech busy. Emma Richardson on bass was stage left, tall and elegant as she played and added her vocals to Marsden’s. The third member, drummer Matt Hayward, joined for the second song Sweet Sour and the pace immediately increased with his powerful playing driving the music forward.

Moving back to their debut album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey for the next two tracks, Patterns and Fires, the music was passionate and played with a steady rhythm. Band Of Skulls have a stop-start style that feels restrained in places, but at others bursts into life with Marsden’s great guitar work and Richardson’s fast bass playing, her fingers dancing up and down the fret board.

The set list continued to alternate between the two albums, with Blood from the first release and Navigate from the new one being particular highlights. The crowd was well entertained and sung along, fists pumping into the air. Band Of Skulls have a massive sound for a three piece band, and the mixture of great instrumental work and the twin male and female vocals gives them a unique sound.

Hollywood Bowl rocked as hard as ever, the crowd jumping along in time and early single I Know What I Am was fast and powerful. The set closed with the latest single You’re Not Pretty But You Got it Goin’ On, some tremendous drumming from Hayward mixed with strobing lights and one last burst of guitar wizardry providing the big ending.

The band was soon back on stage for an encore. The Devil Takes Care Of His Own, Light Of The Morning and Death By Diamonds And Pearls were all played flawlessly before the night ended with the always memorable Impossible. Marsden’s vocals were spat out with real meaning and the music rose once more to a massive crescendo before the band left the stage for the final time.

Band Of Skulls are an excellent live band who have real craft and technique to their music. Three excellent musicians and two album’s worth of material to play from meant that the set was both lively and varied, and the time just slipped by far too quickly. The near capacity crowd was well entertained by a high quality performance.

Venue: O2 ABC, Glasgow
Support Band: Folks

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