Rock ruled at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy last weekend as two Glasgow-born bands brought the house down.
Before I talk about the music, I’d just like to praise Nice ‘n’ Sleazy as the epitome of the small music venue. It’s literally underground, there’s graffiti everywhere, and if not for the ventilation system you’d be 90% sweat before you even started dancing. The roof is so low that I assume they have to let any bands more than 6 feet tall know that they’re at risk of concussion if they stand on the band riser. It’s like a dungeon that people play music in and it’s absolutely fantastic, you get such a vibe even before there’s any tunes.
Speaking of tunes, there were plenty on show in that wonderful little cave on Saturday night. Nü Cros played before the headliner, and they were a great band for the setting I described above. Four lads (a guitarist, bassist, drummer, and vocalist/guitarist), all very Glasgow, very rough, and above all, very, very loud. They kind of sounded like a punkier Oasis. There was something in the vocals that sounded very synthy, with lots of notes that went on an infinitum then disappeared away somewhere. However, the alt-rock sheen over the whole thing made the singing a lot less Oasis, since you couldn’t really hear any of it. If there was a singalong chorus or a cool lyric, it was drowned out by growling guitars and fast-paced snare.
To be honest, this wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Even if the singing took a back seat it was only because the music and melody was the superior part. There was a kickass drum solo halfway through the set, which is an incredible part of rock band culture that you really don’t see enough of these days. The boys were also big fans of upping the tempo, then dropping down to a solo drumbeat or bassline before the guitars came back for a big finish. This happened multiple times per song, and I must be a real sucker because I enjoyed it every time. Overall, good headbanging music, but bring earplugs. I’d really like to hear them as more than just an instrumental, but I don’t know if that’s their fault or their sound technician’s.
The headline act was Flying By Mirrors, who are a lot more pop while still in the same indie/alt rock genre. Their guitarist announced before the last song, “this one’s a bit of a boogie, and that’s why we do all this – ‘cause we all love a dance” – and I have no trouble believing them. Their songs are all built on a good chorus, and all the guitar riffs are simple, noticeable, and catchy. A line or two is guaranteed to still be floating around in your head in the days after you catch their gig. They changed up the pace a lot more than Nü Cros as well, the drums and bass taking a break to let the guitarist play some slower songs that showed off their vocalist.
They have a good bit of crowd interaction as well, which is a massively important thing in small crowded venues like Nice ‘n’ Sleazy. There was a bit of call-and-response with the audience, and for the finale – a tune called Let’s Go Dancing, set to be a single later this year – the boys had everyone on the floor before bouncing back up, so that we could all (to quote the guitarist) “boogie”.
Of the two, I personally preferred Flying By Mirrors, but my tastes tend to skew towards pop and good vocals. If you like something edgier, something punkier, Nü Cros are well worth a listen.
By Bryce Arthur