Live Review: Gengahr

KING TUT’S – 19/10

Gengahr’s youthful energy and exuberance on stage belies their smooth, eclectic brand of indie – on record they sound like a gang of floppy-haired teens in a hazy bedroom listening to Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Wild Beasts (and everything in between), whereas live they’ve turned all that up to 11 and left the haziness behind.  And only one of them has properly floppy hair.

With King Tut’s suitably warmed up by the excellent Pumarosa (check out ‘Priestess’ for an instant classic) and Bombay Bicycle Club touring vocalist Liz Lawrence’s band Cash+David’s frankly confusing mix of electronica and heavy rock, Gengahr slink on stage before crashing into debut LP A Dream Outside’s loud-quiet opening  track ‘Dizzy Ghosts’.

 The band’s two most striking figures are the guitarists: frontman Felix Bushe, sporting a blank white t-shirt, black jeans and Vans – the most base-level indie outfit possible – produces a surprising Hayden Thorpe falsetto waver from his quite stocky frame; to his left, lead guitarist John Victor is having the time of his life, constantly on the move, adjusting his pedals or yanking provocative sounds from more and more adventurous nooks and crannies of his beautiful yellow Yamaha Samurai.  Most of the songs revolve around his virtuosic playing, and he knows it – a wide grin is usually the only thing visible under his sweaty curtain of hair (he is the aforementioned floppy-headed member).  Hugh Schulte gets his moment in the spotlight with his fruity bass chords introducing ‘Fill My Gums with Blood’, one of the highlights of the night.  Drummer Danny Ward looks a lot like Gerrit Welmers from Future Islands.

Though the album is a pleasant listen and a few tracks do get stuck in the head easily, it has been very faithfully transplanted to a live setting, with no real creative experimentation to speak of.  The main attraction of the live show is Victor’s spectacular guitar playing; Gengahr’s career is still in its infancy, but it would be nice to see some further exploration rather than just a live rendition of their record.  The Glasgow crowd are nevertheless appreciative of the set, consisting of their entire album plus a couple of tracks from the recently released Tired Eyes EP.  After a very quick break to towel themselves off, Bushe and Ward start off ‘Lonely as a Shark’ as a two-piece, before the other half of the band join them for a raucous ‘She’s a Witch’ to round off the night.  One of the standout names on the bloated indie scene – keep an eye out for them next year.  

[Ciaran McQueen  – @_delareine]

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