STEREO – 21/1/2017
A good thing about small but wide and open venues like Stereo on Renfield Lane is that they’re the anti-festival – three bands on the bill and more or less three different crowds, at least at the front. Not having to cram your way to the front and sit through the band before your favourite (with an inevitably clenched bladder) creates a relaxed atmosphere, freeing up more space to purely enjoy the music.
Crying are second on stage tonight – after Glasgow regulars Breakfast Muff and before their New England compatriots The Hotelier – on their first ever European tour, and the Glasgow crowd buzzes quietly as they set up. They may have posted on Facebook that they hope “at least two or three of y’all come see us” in Europe, but as someone at the back shouts out partway through the set, a lot of the audience “came here for you!”
Crying’s pretty unique sound can take most of the credit for the warm response tonight – Elaiza Santos’ earnest, emo-revival vocals meandering beautifully around Ryan Galloway’s heady, ferociously joyful mix of Gameboy-synthesised sounds and choppy, prodigious guitar. New album Beyond the Fleeting Gales’ opener ‘Premonitory Dream’ is a great starter, pulling back the bowstring with dreamy, space-age synths, lulling the uninitiated, before launching into the body of the song and laying down a precedent for their 10-song set. Tracks 2 and 3 of Gales follow – Wool in the Wash is a gorgeous, fuzzy, soulful pop-rock trip – before they veer off-piste into Batangi Killjoy, possibly the most prominent example of Gameboy use in their discography.
In a music industry awash with varied attempts at 90s nostalgia, it’s great to hear one band finally get it spot on – you can wear plaid and channel Pavement all you want, but what most people who grew up in the twilight of the 2nd millennium really remember is unknowingly basking in the last era of pre-internet angst, pre-Bush and war-on-terror global uncertainty, and playing Super Mario on a tiny, unlit screen to a comforting 8-bit soundtrack. If you miss that – or were born in 1996 and like to pretend you do – Crying are your band.