Live Review: Sharks @King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

Leamington Spa’s Indie-Punks step up strong for first UK headline tour

Given the extraordinary hype that’s surrounded Sharks’ swift ascendancy, their heavily-publicised traverses across North America and their all-but consolidated title as UK bright-hopes; there’s a sparse crowd for this first Glaswegian headline show.

It’s an all but insurmountable problem for local indie-pop openers Huevo & The Giant; their tendency to the janglier side of that indie/punk fence straddled by the headliners doing little to fill out the empty space. Given, their light, sunshine sound does anything but kill whatever smouldering excitement there is, but it’s a decidedly lightweight showing that closes into the deeper darkness and character of the later bands.

sharks live review

A few more bodies mill in before Crowns hit the stage, their odd mixture of whimsical folk sensitivity and Pougues-esque punchy, punky vigour whipping out like a hare from the trap. It’s something of an incongruous showing given the lineup – the good-natured, knockabout joviality sitting closer to The Wonder stuff than the generally darker nature of punk.

Still, they’re a young band with charisma to burn and they’ve the attitude and the sounds to win new friends in even the least expectant of crowds.

A lot’s been written about Sharks’ economy, their stripped-down echoes of legends like The Clash and contemporaries like The Gaslight Anthem, and the evident promise of newly-released debut No Gods but, at core, this is a band who go about their business with the sharp, determined look of men relishing “challenging” shows like this as inevitable stepping-stones to an inevitable world-conquering culmination.

sharks live reviewTheirs is a short set (under an hour), but it’s hookier than a fisherman’s toolbox and manages the neat trick – for a band with only that one full album – of leaving the audience already calling for a plethora of “forgotten favourites”.

Sweeping out with No Gods’ opening salvo of ‘Til The Wonders Rise and Arcane Effigies, there’s something bracingly British about their driving musicality and bittersweet pessimism.

At face, this is a band you could mistake as debtors to turn of the millennium US pop-punk, but from lead-singer James Mattock’s sinewy presence and piercing stare to the shoutalong, terrace-chant opening of Trains and On A Clear Day You Can See Yourself’s poignant lyricism these UK upstarts have their toes very much buried in home soil.

Whether the audience is there for such grounded talent is a question for this time next year, but whether the talent is there is no question at all.

Sharks are: James Mattock, Andrew Bayliss, Sam Lister, Carl Murrihy
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Sharks Pics courtesy of King Tut’s and © Sarah Roberts

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…