Last night saw the return of Glue. Hosted by The Angel, with their walls decked in retro rock posters, and the bands level with the audience in this snug setting, it was a rip-roaring affair. Providing a space for local and student acts to showcase their talent, Glue has quickly established themselves as the premier alternative music night in Durham. With ambitious music, a keen audience and drinks a-plenty, what’s not to love? In their fourth event since their incarnation last year, we got to see three student bands display some diverse sounds.
Performing first was Mother with the heaviest set of the night. This four piece was technically impressive, with spiky and strange guitar wizardry that reminded me of math-rock outfit black midi. Guitars often cranked into overdrive, the nimble and energetic drumming nicely complemented the heavy aspects of Mother’s performance. Vocal duties were shared between guitarists which created an interesting point of contrast that I enjoyed. Their partly-spoken, partly-sung delivery – common in a lot of contemporary post-punk – worked really well when paired with their angsty, often surreal lyricism. Mother are not maternal, their harsh style by no means soothing, but they are very exciting and strange – in the best kind of way. Check them out. @themotherbanduk
Second up was Escher with a diverse repertoire of covers and original music. They use their three guitarists to full effect – creating a dense, muddy sound, pierced by lead guitarist Ed Osborne’s soaring riffs in a brilliant cover of my bloody valentine’s ‘when you sleep’. But beyond shoegazing, their three-pronged approach worked well to produce a hefty blues feel on the Harry Styles song ‘Kiwi’. This perhaps proved to be a guilty pleasure for this allegedly edgy crowd as everyone found themselves singing along. Special mention must also go to Escher’s rhythm section. The drumming was tight, keeping the band cohesive, while the bass work of Sam White was dextrous, melodic and at times really funky. Much of Escher’s own original music was brooding and at risk of dragging at times, but they carried more than enough energy to keep the audience dancing. With a single ‘Early Sunset’ out (featured on BBC Introducing) and with another on its way, watch this space. @escherbanduk
Up last was Passing Waves, bringing a psychedelic and heady feel to proceedings. This three-piece band showcased unique style I really enjoyed. On one level they create a very spacious sound – trippy and atmospheric. But in some passages, I’m also reminded of Jeff Buckley with Dom Perce’s falsetto vocals and evocative chord progressions. All this often builds into exciting climaxes where you feel thrown into a heist film, soundtracked by driving drums, funky basslines and Perce rapidly rocking back and forth on his wah-wah pedal. The virtuosity of drummer Freddie Krone is undeniably impressive. However, there were times where he veered toward dominating rather than complimenting the band’s sound. But the moments when the poly-rhythmic drums meshed with Kristian Queripel’s intricate bass lines were some of the most rewarding of the night. If you see Passing Waves lined-up to perform in Durham, check them out, they’re an exhilarating watch. @passing.waves
Overall, the night was a successful one. In a time when electronic music (a lot of it very good!) tends to draw more attention from students, events like Glue that champion alternative music are especially important. I would highly recommend you grab a ticket for the next event. Scrap your plans for Jimmy’s, you can go every night, it’ll still be there. With bands in the past coming not just from the university but from Newcastle and beyond, this year at Glue you’ll be sure to discover some unique and exciting music.
Photo: Jack Coombs