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  KIERAN ROBERTSON IS A WIZARD AS HE CASTS A SPELL IN HOMETOWN HEADLINE SHOW
Kieran Robertson/Seraph Sin/North Atlas
King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow


johnny main
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Mark Rutherford


kieran robertson

Scotland's self-styled 'next rock superstar', Kieran Robertson, doesn't often play hometown shows and when he does, these things are always an event. I last saw him most recently at the back end of last year with a special Christmas show, and was thoroughly impressed with what I saw – like his album, 'The Name Of Vanity', it had a 'something for everyone' feel to it, and with a clutch of support acts to bolster the bill, legendary Glasgow venue King Tut's was respectably busy bearing in mind it was a Thursday night.

First up on stage were Glasgow based North Atlas, a band who I'd not previously heard of but seemed to be doing a good job as they were already on stage as I climbed the stairs up to the live venue. Pulling a sizeable audience, it was their traditional hard rock sound that seemed to be connecting well with the audience. Frontman Leon Hunter seemed to be enjoying his moment in the spotlight whilst his brother, drummer Cam Hunter, provided a powerful backing, especially on 'Sail' which was a slower paced number but he pounded the drums with power and precision.

kieran robertson

'Aliens' had Leon Hunter once again connecting with the audience who drew close to the stage at his beckoning and the faster paced tempo had the first few rows jumping around with abandon. He does have a good singing voice and he's not one for holding back in his performance or in his attempts to get those standing towards the back of the room involved.

For me, however, the shining star of their set was, without a doubt, 'Orange' which had Leon Hunter strapping on his guitar to bolstered the already solid beefy sound of the band. Bass player Kai Cairney seldom looked up from his bass throughout their set as he seemed to be concentrating more on his playing than having fun, but his hard work paid off handsomely as he produced a solid foundation for the song, along with Cam Hunter, on top of which the guitars of Leon Hunter and David Lesslie were layered.

The band's last number, 'Navigator', saw Lesslie showing his guitar skills, and it was something of a triumphant ending to the bands set as Leon Hunter gave the audience one last chance to get involved. From a band that I'd not previously been aware of they certainly gained my attention in the best way – with solid songs and great stage presence, and they've certainly gained at least one new fan in at least one new supporter in me and, I suspect, I'm not the only one who walked away from the gig very impressed with what I saw. With an EP promised later this year, according to Leon Hunter, that's something I'm certainly look forward to hearing and, of course, having another chance to see the band live again.

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North Atlas Setlist:
HAL
Spiritu
White Dwarf
Sail
Aliens
Orange
Navigator

North Atlas are:
Leon Hunter – Vocals/Guitars
David Lesslie – Guitars/Backing Vocals
Kai Cairney – Bass Guitar
Cam Hunter – Drums/Backing Vocals

kieran robertson

Next up were another local band, industrial Metal rock band Seraph Sin who were another new name for me and were an entirely different genre and performance style than North Atlas. Now, I'm a supporter of industrial Metal, however, I do find some of these bands can be a bit hit and miss, however, Seraph Sin were without a doubt in the former category for me.

Decked out in a smattering of greasepaint with frontman and band leader Gabriel Lennox utilising some black eye make up whilst drummer Roddy McCahon looked not unlike a zombie, this band thrilled from start to finish. Loud, fast, thundering guitars and drums that vibrated you to the pit of your stomach with an exceptional vocal performance from Lennox, it all added up to a joyously unholy sound and vision.

Kicking off with the furiously paced 'Up On High', the band quickly found their groove. 'Set Em Up' didn't slow the pace down either which was helped along with bass player Stephen Logan's subtle backing vocals, which Lennox gave his all to his performance. Lennox is a dynamo of a frontman who scarcely had time to breathe between vocals as he paced the stage getting the best reaction he could from the audience despite a bloke with a video-camera on a monopod shoving his way to the front, dampening the enthusiasm of some of those paying punters in the front row.

kieran robertson

'Deeper With Youth' had McCahon showing his skill during the intro before laying down a beat which had a small group of headbangers jumping about down the front whilst Logan's produced a rumbling bass line that almost stole the thunder from guitarists. A slower paced verse came before a more upbeat chorus, shook the bands style up a bit and certainly had the audience singing along - fantastic stuff from start to finish.

Lennon explained that 'You Disappoint Me' was a "new-old song" but it turned out to be a watershed moment in their set for me. This song, if nothing else, showed what this band are all about and what they're really capable of. A faultless display of their talents and it was the song to light the blue touch paper that ignited the audience, who were obviously aware of it, unlike me, but I'm hoping the song will be included in their set for a long-time to come, as it certainly deserves it.

'33 Cuts' was a new song (played only once before according to Lennox), and it picked up the momentum as the bands set drew to a close with 'God What Have I Done!'. A last hurrah for the audience and one final time for Lennox to connect with his audience, something which paid dividends judging by the noise as the band took their final bows before leaving the stage. With a set time of just thirty minutes it was, let's be honest, fast and short but yet again I've discovered a new band, and Seraph Sin deserve absolutely everything they get.

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Seraph Sin Setlist:
Up On High
Set Em Up
Deeper With You
You Disappoint Me
33 Cuts
God What Have I Done!

Seraph Sin are:
Gabriel Lennox – Vocals/Guitars
Scott Wilson – Guitars
Stephen Logan – Bass Guitar
Roddy McCahon – Drums

kieran robertson

The evening's headliner was, of course, local boy done well, Kieran Robertson. At just eighteen-years-old, he's already played not only the legendary King Tut's but also the city's Hard Rock Café, The Cathouse and The Barrowlands as well as the O2 Arena in Berlin, not to mention all over the US thanks to a tour with ex-Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate where he played acoustic guitar in Tate's band.

Home for a short while before jetting off for a clutch of gigs in Germany, Robertson was eager to show his hometown not only that he'd not forgotten them but also to show them how far he's already come in a career that has already given him so much. A good sized audience were more than ready as the house lights finally went down and the band stepped on to the stage, bathed in red light, with the loudest cheer reserved for Robertson who was last to appear.

Not long after he's settled himself at the microphone than the band kicked in but not with the usual high octane number that you'd expect and instead the new single, 'Pathogen' with its slow and moody intro as he sung it shrouded in a hooded top, with the band really letting go when the chorus kicked in and Robertson theatrically threw off the hooded top and the show really started.

kieran robertson

The smile across his face hardly vanished in the next hour or so as he took the audience on a trip through his career, highlighting his new album, 'In The Name Of Vanity', from which most of the setlist was pulled from. 'Blind Beauty' had the audience really getting into the swing of things as they jumped around whilst those further back nodded along to the drum beat from Moritz Michels as a clutch of photographers mingled unobtrusively with the audience.

Robertson's entire set was dedicated to his long-time guitar tech, Dougie MacMillan, who sadly died in January of this year, but he didn't labour the point and I'm sure that MacMillan would have been delighted that Robertson played the show in his honour. 'Wizard' a firm favourite, it seems judging by its reception, had guitarist Heiko Musolf stepping up with a showy but solid guitar solo whilst Robertson fired out the rhythm guitar parts, bolstering the sound slightly. A slower paced number it gave the band a breather from the hectic pace of the set up to that point and the almost orchestral opening and closing parts added extra texture to the performance which was loudly applauded by the audience at its conclusion.

"Do you like it heavy?" asked singer before 'This World' and it was back to the full on metal with Robertson encouraging the audience to get involved punching the air as he paced the stage like a demon baying for blood and the rib rattling bass rhythm from Jack Ross helped the song with Robertson pounding his microphone stand into the stage, showing no lack of commitment to his art.

kieran robertson

'Monster' kept the pace going with singers aggressive vocals split between an almost Metalcore vocal and spoken word but it's strong as ever despite him saying his throat was recovering after being out on the road in the US for the last couple of months. Evergreen track 'Freak' (written about a party that Robertson won't divulge any more details on) is a firm favourite with the audience and Musolf gets to shine with a short solo.

'Addicted To This Life' gets a good reception too. As Robertson explained, the song was written about being out on tour and was recorded before he'd ever been out on tour, so it obviously means a great deal to him now but reflections on his real-life experiences on tour are the subject for another day but the song certainly picked up the pace and without his guitar, Robertson was able to direct all his attention into getting the audience involved which they certainly did including a small group down the front dancing along.

A cover of the Cutting Crew's Eighties classic, 'I Just Died (In Your Arms Tonight)' injects a bit more enthusiasm from the audience – many of who probably weren't born when the original was surfing the charts – and before you know it, the main set ends and the band take their leave.

The band reappear briefly for a quick run through 'Secret Lover' and the gig is done as the hardcore fans rush to the merchandise stall for a chance to meet their hero. Another successful hometown gig from Robertson and his band and a nice warm up for them before a clutch of dates in Germany. So much has happened to Robertson in the last twelve months that his feet have hardly touched the ground. What will happen to him in the future is anyone's guess, but I only hope he's offered the chance to appear at some festivals in the UK and in Europe because he has an incredible talent that surely means he's on course to be one of the next generation of big UK rock and Metal artists out there.

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Kieran Robertson Setlist:
Pathogen
Beauty Blind
Don't Wanna Be Like You
Wizard
This World
Monster
Freak
21st Century Bitch
Addicted To This Life
Why
I Just Died (In Your Arms Tonight)
To Be In Love
Forever
Secret Lover

Kieran Robertson are:
Kieran Robertson – Vocals
Heiko Musolf - Lead Guitar
Jack Ross – Bass Guitar
Moritz Michels – Drums





 


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