Live Review: Errors at The Arches, Glasgow

Set in the labyrinthine tunnels beneath Glasgow’s central station, this largest headline performance yet by upcoming Glaswegian post-rock heroes Errors carries the air not only of imminent breakthrough, but also the echoes of musical influence in the city’s past.

Errors live at the Arches

Their electro-indie compositions mightn’t hold the weight or colourful vibrancy of The Arches’ famous club nights nor, ironically, the rag-hemmed spontaneity of the best of Scotland’s rock exports, but they inhabit the sparsely-populated space between; sprawling and twisting their sound into shapes new yet curiously familiar.

Populated by ageing hipsters, fresh-looking indie-chicks and a spare few from outside the local ‘scene’ it’s the kind of gig the grubby, timeworn rabble who populate the front rows at Mogwai gigs would cock a sceptical eyebrow towards, snorting in derision at the bare-faced struck-posture of it all.

Fortunately, Errors have picked more up from their Glaswegian brethren than t-shirt ideas and fickle fans. Opening Mogwai’s Christmas show at the Barrowland Ballroom they brimmed with promise but were inevitably undone by their comparatively two-dimensional approach and the headliners’ overwhelming power. Tonight, they play on their own terms.

Dual video screens to the rear flicker with hypnotic, kaleidoscopic tartan imagery. The curved ceiling channels sound, driving their each beat into and through the audience. They’re a man down following the departure of guitarist Greg Paterson but they’ve shifted well into the three-piece structure, inhabiting their songs more directly and allowing the emphasis to sit more easily on each individual performance.

The remaining trio (Steev Livingstone, Simon Ward and James Hamilton) mightn’t be much to look at – performing tonight largely in silhouette – but their music isn’t about performer-presence. Live, it throbs through the ether; branching with the organic looseness of live performance but driving the swelling and swaying audience with the thinly removed feel of a DJ.

True, with the shift towards complexity that’s accompanied latest record Have Some Faith In Magic (followed closely by tonight’s setlist) sees them eschew much of their previous beat-laden Justice-worship but they’re not quite ready to floor the distortion pedals and kick the drums into the audience just yet.

Inspired, muscled-up crowd-favourite Mr Milk continues to rule the roost but it’s no longer a standalone apex in their live canon with the likes of Pleasure Palaces (below) finding elbow room and enough appreciation to really glow. There’s confidence too in Steev’s “increased” showmanship (he checks out how people are doing at the back – and on the nonexistent balcony – “because that’s what bands at shows like this do”); the levity putting fizz into the musical flow.

Still, it’s all over in shortly over an hour, and though it’s to their credit that the audience could drink in the same again you can’t escape the sense of discomfort in that a band with three (not-quite-intense) records couldn’t sprawl out a little more. Errors are a band in transition in terms of both lineup and musical approach and afloat in a city that sports not only the aforementioned Mogwai but also their young labelmates Remember Remember.

Given the reception they receive tonight, it’s hard to believe this will remain Errors’ biggest headline show for too long, but their future is tantalizingly unwritten both in terms of success and the next wind in their musical path.

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Sam Law

Freelance writer and editor based in Glasgow, Scotland. Major fan of punk rock and cult cinema. Can normally be located at the nearest midnight movie marathon or in the mosh pit…