Live Reviews

  The Courtesans, Seraph Sin, Splintered Halo and Aperture live at Audio in Glasgow

In the deep dark abyss that is this no mean city, the spirits rise from their resting places as soon as the sun sets in the sky. Time therefore to seek sanctuary from the moonlight, as The Courtesans, Seraph Sin, Splintered Halo and Aperture have done, in the hallowed, and yet pungent, church of Audio. Sing hosanna and turn that volume up.

Visiting this no mean city from Edinburgh were Aperture. As with many of the bands from our capital city they soon demonstrated that they had learned the benefit of being polished, polite and proficient at what they do. Their late arrival and rapid departure gave time little for more than a hint of their apparently mainstream musical direction but that was likely enough to arouse the future curiosity of the audience.

Crowd pleasing is a description that would and should rightly be applied to Splintered Halo. With a singer, blessed as she was with a fine voice, who had also drank copiously from the well of onstage charisma, this was the kind of band that had no problem exploiting the dramatic possibilities that the clichés of the metal genre present and using them to their musical advantage. Throw in rough edged guitar riffs distilled from piss and vinegar and Glasgow, for once, has a metal band to be proud of.

Seraph Sin had many of the same musical influences as the preceding band but, plagued by technical difficulties, their set lost momentum despite the righteously energetic and remarkably co-ordinated reinvention of the macho posturing beloved of hard rockers everywhere that accompanied their opening song. That’s a shame as crowd approval was sure to be coming their way and singer Gabriel Lennox was even wearing a party dress in preparation for adulation.

It would have been easy to discount tonight’s headliners, The Courtesans, as tough but cute bunny rabbits just waiting to be stroked by willing boys in the pet shop of making a buck. It would have been but for the unease that their songs provoke. Any band who manages to make a cover of the Velvet’s “Venus In Furs” the most uplifting song in their set has to be walking through a lot of shadows in search of inspiration and, even with the copious amount of highly distracting skin on show theatrically presented with the lightly chilled precision of the lapdancer rather than outright eroticism, it was the gothic intensity of that music that left the greatest impression.  Even if you were a right up against the stage witness to this performance, it would still have been foolish to think that The Courtesans are mere cyphers for the same old sex sells anything approach so beloved of what is left of the music business.  Rather, The Courtesans are sirens of our times and they take full advantage of the concept of exploitation to deliver their downbeat yet distinctly compelling musical message.

Enough of this intellectual pondering for it is time to step back out into the streets of Glasgow. It must be Hallowe’en as there is a hairy man dressed as Snow White trying to gain entry to a pub. Or it might just be another Friday night in Glasgow.

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