Swedish doom merchants Grand Magus have a growing reputation as one of the best
bands in the genre, so you have to ask yourself why the band are playing somewhere
as small as The Cathouse tonight when the audience assembled here have to squeeze
into every available space to try and get a good view. Once the band
themselves have fought their way through the crowd to the stage however, they are
greeted with a gloriously loud roar from a Friday night crowd who are in fine voice and
ready to party - from this point on, the band simply delivers a formidable performance
on every level.
Kicking off with 'Kingslayer' the band are at one with the crowd from the off, with bass
player Fox striding around the stage grinning from ear-to-ear. It's not all plain sailing
as vocalist "JB" Christoffersson expresses some initial
unhappiness at the sound (which someone at the back refers bluntly to as "pish!"), but
nothing could ruin the atmosphere at the gig and the problem is sorted out a couple of songs later.
Supporting their latest album 'The Hunt', the band effortlessly steam through their short
but entertaining set list. 'Sword of the Ocean' and 'I, The Jury' both have the audience thrusting their fists in the air whilst 'Ravens Guide Our Way' and 'Like The
Oar Strikes The Water' both give the head bangers down the front the chance to let off
a bit of steam. 'Silver Into Steel' shows the band can play a solid groove and they all
seem to genuinely enjoying the gig – as JB says to the partisan crowd that the Glasgow
audience is by far the better audience when compared to the previous night in Bristol.
Alas time is against the band and the strict Cathouse curfew beckons. As it
does so, the band literally fly through both 'Iron Will' and 'Hammer Of The North', with
the crowd are causing all sorts of mayhem in the meantime. With cries of "one more
tune" ringing from all corners of the room, the set is over and the band struggle back
though the crowd to the sanctuary of their dressing room. Grand Magus will be back in
Glasgow that's for sure – let's just hope they book a bigger venue next time!
On a side note, this evening's support band was Primitai, who I'd not heard of before,
but I was quite keen to see what they had to offer – bearing in mind that I'd heard good
things about the five piece from Sandhurst already, and I certainly wasn't disappointed.
The band started off well enough with 'Fortune Favours the Brave' with its frantic pace
– the only drawback here was the guitar solo from Srdjan Bilic getting lost in the mix but
this was remedied by the time the band had found their footing on the small stage.
Their set continues with 'Pound for Pound' – with its very solid sound and vocalist Guy
Miller uses the full stage in order to get this Friday night audience energised. He does some good work as they treat the growing audience to a number of songs from their
most recent album 'The Line of Fire', including the title song itself and the very Judas
Priest sounding 'Sin City'.
The band do owe a clear debt to Priest and Iron Maiden with 'Nocturnal Hordes'
being a clear example of this. The track has a great Maiden-esque guitar duel from Bilic
and Nick Saxby whilst drummer Chris Chilcott also gets a chance
to shine. These comparisons however don't detract at all from the songs performed
here tonight and with a few solid support slots under their belts already, and a live
schedule for 2013 filling up, this band are certainly one worth catching live.