Casual Sex and Wake the President, two of the finest bands in Glasgow, have released a split 7” single, and decided to celebrate with a gig in the Old Hairdresser’s , an appropriately Bohemian location.
As is the wont of these things, the vinyl hadn’t returned from the pressing plant yet. Fortunately all the bands were there, and on fine from. First off were Post, another band on Wake The President’s fine record label, We can Still Picnic. What unites all these bands is their fascination with late 70s and early 80s post punk, the most fertile and exciting period in British music ever.
Post have a pedigree, being the brainchild of Graham Wann form the highly regarded Bricolage. Post are still young but more promising prospect, with a more expansive sound than Bricolage, marrying Television –style guitar lines with Graham’s increasing confidence as a vocalist and performer on such songs as Monument for A Lost Cause. Unfortunately, I missed most of their set, as I was so busy catching up with people, but I did have the pleasure of seeing Casual Sex.
Casual Sex are the brainchild of Samuel Smith, who used to front of the best bands ever on Chemikal Underground, Mother and the Addicts, as well as being one of the most respected producers in the city, at Green Door Studios. Casual Sex have perfected a heavily riff-driven (their bassist Edward Wood is nothing short of brilliant) mélange of 70s glam and off-kilter punk funk on such songs as What’s Your Daughter For and We’re All Here Mainly For the Sex. The wit and irresistible rump-shaking swagger of their earlier songs takes second place to their new material tonight, which sounds more like the Pop Group than a pop group. North recalls the dark brilliance of dub influences on post punk as does New Guts – very dark song about relationships showing a new seriousness and maturity to Smith’s songwriting . Perhaps to signpost this, he appears tonight with a suedehead and braces, looking like a en early 70s football hooligan. Or maybe that’s another one of his conceptual jokes. The 1990s and Franz Ferdinand are both fans. Casual Sex may well be better than either.
Bjorn and Erik Sandberg from Wake the President not playing themselves in Stuart Murdoch’s film God Help the Girl
As well as the vinyl being late, the gig was running late, as is the wont of these things, meaning that not the largest crowd in the world were left by the time Wake the President came onstage. (it was a school night, and people had to get the tube home – Glasgow isn’t Berlin. Unfortunately. This was a bit of a shame as more people should know about this most criminally underrated of Scottish bands. They write literate, intelligent songs in the classic Postcard tradition about love, lust and debauchery, and, 30 years ago would probably have been stars. There not being a market anymore for intelligent, darkly ironic pop music, they’re playing such gems of songs as “In Youth There is Pleasure” and “MissTierney” to a crowd of about 30 people. Undeterred, they more than rose to the occasion. Though then again, maybe it’s better this way (for me, not their bank balance). If they were discovered by “indie” fans, holding their lighters aloft as they sing along… a terrifying thought. Let’s hope they remain secret underground gems.
“Bill Drummond/ North” split 7” by Wake the President/ Casual Sex respectively is out now