HECK (the artist formerly known as Baby Godzilla) play the Cathouse in Glasgow tonight, supporting their debut album, Instructions.
Unfortunately, the turn-out for tonight is only moderate, due in part to poor promotion of the night and a lack of local support.
The only support, then, are Raketkanon, a decent enough sludge act. Talking about support bands at a HECK concert feels almost unfair, but Raketkanon provide a suitable warm-up for the main act, despite sounding a bit messy.
HECK are almost conservative (for HECK) at first, with front man Matt Reynolds waiting almost 30 seconds to remove himself from the stage, and the rest of the band (well, guitarist Johnny Hall and bassist Paul Shelley) waiting an entire song to follow suit.
It’s difficult to say much about the band that hasn’t already been said, but put simply, HECK shows are absolute chaos. To a soundtrack of their signature punk-influenced mathcore, Reynolds is right in the middle of ensuing mosh pits for most of the show and Hall spends the majority of his time on top of the bar at opposite the stage. Reynolds has a bewildered woman hold his microphone for him as he stands in the middle of the floor, shouting his lyrics, without any hint of irony. There’s plenty of movement across the rest of the floor, sometimes to the point where it’s difficult to keep eyes on everything. Where one’s eyes are almost never, though, is the stage.
We’re accustomed to seeing HECK in smaller venues than the Cathouse, i.e. ones without a barrier. That doesn’t seem to phase most of the crowd though, as they follow Reynolds over said barrier and squeeze into the space in between the barrier and the stage without a second thought, proving the band’s fanbase is mad as the musicians themselves.
Being as it is a date on the tour for Instructions, the band does play a wealth of new material from that album, which strengthens the musical part of tonight’s show. HECK’s older material is great, but Instructions was a step up which broke new musical ground for the band.
The breaking of new ground is most evident when the band play a stunning rendition of Instructions’ final track, i. See The Old Lady Decently ii. Buried Although iii. Amongst Those Left Are You (which, for convenience, will be referred to as See The Old Lady Decently for the remainder of this review). A madcap prog-influenced opus, complete with a guitar solo and an acoustic section, the track explores new territory for HECK not only musically, but in a live setting. Due to the complexity of a suite like See The Old Lady Decently, the band spend most of their time on stage during its performance. While this is somewhat odd, it shows the band is not wholly reliant on their live antics and boast some impressive musical chops. And while this may indicate the start of a new era for HECK, they do let the audience know that it’s not the end of said live antics by still managing them to a limited degree during a demanding track like See The Old Lady Decently.
In addition, this only last for the last 15 to 20 minutes of the band’s set, and is preceded by classic crowd pleaser and the band’s signature, Power Boat Disaster, so the HECK we know and love isn’t going anywhere soon.
The only real issues with tonight’s show is it would have benefited from a bigger crowd, but as previously mentioned, that doesn’t seem to phase most of the people who turned up tonight. Even with a smaller crowd in a bigger venue, HECK continue to be the best live band on the planet.
Written by: Alan Cunningham
Photos by: Elliot McRae