Live Review: Evans the Death

Glad Cafe – 21/07/2015

Local trio Poor Things draw in an enthusiastic crowd for their support slot.  With an album already under their belt, they play a set of new material mixed with tracks like ‘1998’ and ‘A Drunk Man Contemplates the Royal Wedding at Kelvingrove Park’.  The lyrics explore the growing pains of young adulthood and romance with a vital sense of humour, sometimes with a nineties grunge-lite sound, sometimes straying into louder and spikier territory.  In a city waist-deep in bands of boys with guitars, Poor Things stand out with their energy and variety of sound.

Headliners Evans the Death are making their Scottish debut.  The corner of the South Side’s Glad Café is a small stage for a five-piece. The drummer and three guitarists go straight from sound-check into an introductory on-stage jam, building atmosphere until singer Katherine strolls up to the mic. She gives off a deadpan vibe, singing in a tone between rage and ambivalence. Her husky vocals display an incredible range.

Tracks like ‘Don’t Laugh at my Angry Face’ have the melancholic vulnerability of Angel Olsen. On the flipside, the unreleased songs they play tonight are harder and faster, more post-punk than indie-pop. Dark lyrics seep through Sonic Youth-style lo-fi grunge riffs, more robust live than on record. Second album ‘Expect Delays’ from March this year makes up about half the set. Refrains like “I can never be anyone else” from ‘Intrinsic Grey’ and “I guess we’re used to disappointment now” from the brilliant ‘Bad Year’ sum up the punk disillusionment of being lonely, skint and drunk in London.

The band are resourceful performers, borrowing Poor Things’ guitar when a string breaks, and using one of many empty Stella bottles as a slide. With encouragement from the crowd, Evans the Death keep playing until the lights come on. Baffled by the response, Katherine says “This never happens,” before launching into ‘Just 60,000 More Days ‘Til I Die’.

It’s odd that more of us haven’t heard of them by now, but maybe too much success would ruin the appealing underdog aesthetic of this band.

[Ellen MacAskill]

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