Culann - Bar Bloc
Live Review

Culann – Bar Bloc, Glasgow

Bar Bloc’s small stage simply wasn’t big enough for Ayrshire rockers Culann. The underground venue is something of a hot spot for Glasgow’s cool kids, and the sound system is very decent for the size of the venue. But Culann’s massive rock assault simply demands much more space.

Culann won the Best Rock Band category at this year’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards, and it was clear to see why. Theirs is a heavy sound, yet melodic with it as two guitars and keyboards provide plenty of power along with a muscular bass and drums rhythm section. Vocalist PJ Kelly has a strong voice and an emotive style, living the words he sings. The audience, including many regular fans who had travelled for the show, packed in front of the stage, responding with loud applause.

There is plenty of finesse in Culann’s music along with the hard rocking core. Ross McCluskie’s keyboards figured prominently, creating complex sonic patterns. A long instrumental intro to the second song of the night built slowly around the keys, with the band facing away from the audience initially, before the guitars came in and they turned to rock it out once more. It worked well and change of pace is something that the band used to good effect all night.

The Lowlander’s Great Hatred from their debut album was a highlight in a short set, the slightly slower intro having a Celtic feel to it, before the twin guitars of Kelly and Greg Irish combined for some memorable riffs. A new song, played live for the first time, also featured, with Calum Davis’ fine bass work prominent in the mix. This one had a quiet middle section before bursting back into life around a fine solo from Irish.

The closing Salvation, another from the debut album and the band’s current single, ended the set in real style. A typically big chorus and more great guitar work saw this one build to a crescendo before the last verse was sung without accompaniment. One last crash of drums from Sean Kelly brought the set to an end and the band left the stage to cheers.

Culann are clearly a band who are very comfortable playing live, and they certainly have the songs to showcase. This performance served as something of a taster for their talents, and I’m looking forward to seeing them at a larger venue next time around.

Venue: Bar Bloc, Glasgow
Support Band: –

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