We’ve all heard that album, that we love everything about. That band that just strikes a chord with us and we feel like screaming, ‘how the fuck have you not heard them yet?’ at unsuspecting naesayers. And when you think they cannae sound any better, you see them live. This is how I feel about Trongate Rum Riots. No matter how sublime their album ‘Hymns of the Deep,’ is, times that by 100 and you get close to how bouncing this band sounds onstage. Having not seen them since the long and rainy festival season came to an end, it’s is an absolute treat to see them headlining indoors.
The night is warmed up honourably by the Kaplans, whose high octane garage punk is reminiscent of Motörhead, with a smattering of Glasgow, and paves the way nicely for Joe Bones and the Dark Vibes’ doom blues sounds. Their residency at Ivory Blacks has them hosting some of Glasgow’s best loved unsigned bands, and with songs like Glasgow Boys and Testament it’s easy to see why. The keyboard jangles like an tipsy skeleton, dancing through duelling vocals and horror lyrics. There’s a lot going on here, both musically and aesthetically, which is reminiscent of 80’s Goth and Alternative, but with smatterings of ska and punk and good ol’ rock and roll. Mix it all together and Joe Bones and the Dark Vibes are unique and a joy to watch.
The first thing that strikes about Trongate Rum Riots is the noise they make. They kick off like a bar brawl, battering through How Many Hearts, Beer Ran Dry and Sleeping in the Corn with no nonsense. But they are not a bog standard bevy-folk band. Their songs sing of musicianship: taking the listener on a journey through seafaring, whisky swigging, romance and murder with storytelling charm. Comparisons to the Pogues are understandable, but also a disservice, as Trongate Rum Riots draw from a plethora of Trad influences, from Blue Grass to Irish folk, Sea Shanties and Gypsie and Slavic yarns. The absolute highlight of the night was Mama T’s minted solo ‘Monday Morning,’ which sees the band slow the pace to show off her incredible vocals.
In short, the Trongate Rum Riots gig constantly, in a pub near your house, at a festival you definitely have tickets for. If you haven’t already, take yourself along, and see this gem of a band for yourself. You’ll no regret it.