Ever since I had first clapped ears on The Gluts‘ debut LP ‘Warsaw’, I had been longing for the opportunity to see them play live. There was the small matter of their being based in Milan, which is only 1475km from Belfast as the crow flies… No matter, when the opportunity for The Gluts to open for White Hills in their home town presented itself, having missed White Hills at Liverpool Psych Fest last September due to crazy stage time overlaps, I knew that this was the gig I had been waiting for…
Saturday, 01:56 and my “spidey senses” have me, as ever, wide awake just before the alarm goes off. 2 hours later I am checking in at Dublin Airport for the 07:10 flight and the sense of anticipation is already palpable. On arrival in Milan I am met by Nicolò and Claudia from The Gluts, the wonder that is social media has them putting flesh and bone to their already warm and amenable digital selves.
Following a jovial lunch, it’s time to collect the gear along with drummer Mattia and stand in guitarist Bazu. The only, aching downside to this event is that founding guitarist Marco had been called away on business to Hong Kong, much soul searching resulted in the more than affable Bazu from local heroes Giobia being drafted in at the 11th hour.
On to the soundcheck. The venue Bloom has been run as a Cooperative since 1987 which, “aims to actively demonstrate that it is possible to live in this society without surrendering neither to the logic of consumerism and corporations nor cultural atrophy.” My kind of place! It is also blessed with a massive sound courtesy of the busy technical staff. Once upon a time among many, many others Nirvana played here, the stuff of legend…
The Gluts hit the stage running with ‘Please Be Patient With Your Dad’, it’s gloriously anthemic proportions filling the room and pinning the assembled to the walls.
Mattia’s pounding drumbeat gets ‘Bad Man’ underway, Nicolò’s melancholy lyric underpinned by Claudia’s rolling thunder bass, counterbalanced by the “brighter than a thousand suns” power chords…
The Gothic horror that is ‘The Thing’ kicks off, marginally slowing the tempo before the machine gun riffs set the pulses racing again.
‘Rag Doll”s reverb somehow manages to sound even bigger live, if you’ve heard the LP, you’ll appreciate that this is no mean feat!
‘Don’t Believe In Fairy Tales’ had me quoting earlier on arrival in Milan that I was, “Halfway in between heaven and earth and believing in fairytales with The Gluts”… The sheer physicality of the performance coupled with Nicolò’s writhing torment, literally has me coming out in goosebumps.
Finale, ‘Enemies’ arrives all too soon and showcases the raw passion and emotion that The Gluts bring to their stage performances. The audience show their immense appreciation and the band retreat, then vanish in the sea of fog now enveloping the stage…
As I said previously in my Featured Artist piece on The Gluts last November, “The Gluts’ sound has a euphoric, gothic grandeur that melds the primordial elements of Bauhaus, Killing Joke and The Cure – the ‘post-punk’, ‘new-wave’, triumvirate mainstays of my youth. I love this band. I love what their music does to my pulse and my senses”.
Tonight has only reinforced that feeling and then some!
White Hills take the stage to rapturous applause, a short ‘Intro’ gives way to new LP ‘Walks For Motorists’ opener ‘No Will’ which has me thinking of the malevolent ‘Dark Entries’ by Bauhaus. ‘Lead The Way’ is a spaced out glam fest.
‘The Condition Of Nothing’ from ‘H-p1’ exemplifies the dystopian nihilism, that Dave W describes as the “disease of greed…that plagues our time…”. ‘Under Skin or By Name’ from ‘Glitter Glamour Atrocity’, is one of my firm favourites, having quite literally been immortalised on the anthemic vampire sound track, to Jim Jarmusch’s exquisite ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’.
‘LSD’ aka ‘£SD or USB’ has perhaps one of the catchiest synth beats of all time, you’ll be humming it forever! ‘We Are What You Are’ is a pounding celebration of the synergy between band and audience.
‘Walks For Motorists’ has a dirty funk beat that will have you pumping your fists in salutation. ‘H-p1’ is a mesmerising motorik masterpiece.
‘Don’t Be Afraid’ meanders off to the outer reaches of the galaxy, while ‘Eternity’ from 2007’s ‘Head’s On Fire’ brings the show to a shuddering climax. Dave W has somehow managed to coax every manner of note from his Gibson, throwing rhapsodic shamanic shapes every step of the way.
The crowd demand more and their wishes are graciously granted with encores ‘False Revolution’ and ‘Oceans Of Sound’, the blistering sonic barrage sending the gathered off into the Italian night, grinning from ear to ear.
Post show there was mutual admiration in abundance, limited edition vinyls swapped, and chat galore to round off a very special night for all concerned. Thank you to The Gluts and to White Hills for a gig that will live with me forever.