The Cathouse, Glasgow
Tuesday 19th April 2016
It's been a while since they last came to Glasgow (by my reckoning it was 2004 when they last played the city), so the troops were out on force for this gig. The punters were a variety of ages from anxious parents unwittingly dragged along by their offspring to seasoned gig goers and even the occasional Black Metal fan prowling venue, half drunk pint in hand looking very much the worse for wear it must be said.
As the house lights down and the crowd were more than ready judging by the reaction as the band made their way onstage for their hour long set. The band have recently released their second full length album, 'Take It Like A Man', which was released last year and they used this tour to showcase no less than seven tracks from it.
'Blonde Girls All Look The Same' was the first track up and was delivered in energetic style as Heidi Shepherd made a good job at energising the crowd whilst Carla Harvey took the lead vocal. Guitarist Henry Flury seemed to be enjoying himself as he makes use of the girls' ego ramps whilst the girls paced the stage.
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'The Butcher' followed which was a sheer wall of sound as the band hit their maximum velocity in what was a powerful performance. Shepherd took a sojourn into the photo pit half way through the number (thankfully bereft of photographers at this point) in order to get up close and personal with the front couple of rows who surged forwards in an attempt to press the flesh. It was a good theatrical performance as Shepherd and Harvey drifted around the stage during the mid section before normal head banging service was resumed.
"We're going to play another new song," said Shepherd later in the set before canvassing for options from the eager crowd. After a couple of attempts to hear what was being shouted at her, she said "Anything but 'Dead Man Walking' then huh?" with a wry smile on her face as the band launch into exactly that song. It was a great version of a great song and one, I suspect, that will remain in their set for some time to come. Flury finally managed to get his moment in the spotlight as he shone through with his perfectly executed guitar solo – classy from start to finish.
Another new one, 'Thrown Away', is a slower paced number that gives everyone a break from the intensity of the performance on stage and was the most sensitive performance of the evening. Shepherd and Harvey took turns at the vocals and used all of the stage although Harvey seemed to struggle with her vocals whereas Shepherd came across much stronger.
Of course there were plenty of older tracks to keep the momentum going and the fans happy throughout the show too. From their self-titled debut EP, we were treated to 'Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine' and 'Mr Slowdeath' mid-set. "I'm just going to take a bit of Grandma's medicine," joked Shepherd before the former, asking "Are you guys are drinking yeah?" to something of a mixed response due to the lower age limit but once the track got going, the bouncers at the front were kept busy enough by a steady stream of crowd surfers.
There was no stopping for niceties as they barrelled straight into 'Mr Slowdeath' which was a powerhouse performance all round. Harvey lead the charge here and Flury had his width cut out as he moved around the stage, almost crashing into her at one point and she couldn't hide the smile on her face at the song's conclusion.
An oddity in their set was the inclusion of 'They're Coming To Take Me Away', a cover of the 1966 novelty record by Jerry Samuels. Don't get me wrong, it was an interesting cover and well performed too, but I'd much rather hear an original number than a fairly obscure cover song – still both Shepherd and Harvey relished the theatre involved in singing it and overall it was a great performance from the band which highlighted not only the strong material on their new album but what a great live performance they can pull off too.
Butcher Babies Set List:
National Bloody Anthem
Blonde Girls All Look The Same
Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine
Dead Man Walking
They're Coming To Take Me Away
Butcher Babies are:
Heidi Shepherd – Vocals Blonde
Carla Harvey– Vocals Dark
Henry Flury – Guitar
Jason Klein – Bass Guitar
Chris Warner – Drums