Live Review: Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun

Despite having been a music loving student in Scotland for over two years, I had never made to the legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut until Monday. I was not disappointed, either by the venue or the quality of music. The bright downstairs bar was the ideal place for a pre-show drink, while the low stage and small space upstairs made for some exciting and intimate sets.

Trapped Mice opened, building some great thundery soundscapes with fuzzy guitars and a haunting violin, over which Ian Tilling sang, screamed and spoke with melancholic wit. They were followed by Starling Heist, playing the kind of folk-infused indie rock currently being espoused by fellow Glaswegians Admiral Fallow and Three Blind Wolves. And while I wouldn’t include Starling Heist in the same bracket just yet, considering they only formed earlier this year it was a really enjoyable performance, and I look forward to seeing how they develop.

Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun seem to have spent a great deal of the last 12 months on tour. As well as a run of headline shows to promote their second album, ‘Death’, they have also supported Frank Turner in the UK and The Dropkick Murphys in the USA, and despite a couple of technical hitches (a snapped string and a faulty amp) the improvement in their live performance was clear to see. The crowd were a little sullen and reticent to begin with, but from the crashing opening of ‘New Natives’ through to the more tender ‘Wishing Well’ you couldn’t help but be pulled in by the openness and energy with which their inimitable combination of rock, punk and folk was played. Whether it was Jim Lockey’s guttural, almost pained delivery, guitarist and vocalist Chris Capewell’s surprisingly elegant harmonies or bassist Phil Randall’s frenetic dancing everything about the performance invited the audience to join them in both their disdain and their hope for ‘bleeding cities’, warriors and lords, children and wives (Warriors). And by the time the set was wrapped up with ‘England’s Dead’, with its sing-a-long rallying cry of ‘You’re either one of them or one of us’, it seemed as though everyone in the room felt firmly ensconced with the band as ‘one of us’.

Joe Dawson @Just_Joe33

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