If ever there was a night designed to firmly blast away the lingering Christmas cobwebs and send you sweatily careering into the dizzying potential of the new year, then tonight’s first gathering for DIY’s Hello 2023 - which, this year, comes in association with new vinyl production platform FairSound - is surely it. Downstairs at our annual home of the Old Blue Last, there’s a queue to the door before anyone has even stepped on stage; upstairs, the atmosphere is more like a rowdy meat market than a fledgling first gig of the year. Why? Because tonight’s lineup is stacked, and it begins with an opening from Glasgow post-punks Humour.
Close your eyes and the manic vocals of Andreas Christodoulidis sound like a cross between scatting and a panic attack - garbled yips and yelps interspersed with heavy breathing and frenzied gibbering. Open them, and the frontman is an unnervingly still presence, as though whatever’s possessed his vocal chords hasn’t bothered to enter any other part of his body. It’s a strange juxtaposition, but one that aligns with Humour’s strain of ominous brood. Where ‘jeans’ and ‘pure misery’ stalk along like a barbed fence you wouldn’t want to trespass, closer ‘yeah, mud!’ makes for a moment of Parquet Courts-esque relief, a shard of light among the claustrophobia.
Human Interest’s bassist Tyler Damara Kelly might be encaged in an bondage-style chainmail harness, but musically her band are a far more free and celebratory prospect. In alternate turns nodding to the smokey cool of The Kills (‘Mixing Paint’) and melodic ‘90s slacker rock (‘Alive’) before ending on the rock’n’roll thrills of ‘Cool Cat’, Tyler and vocalist Cat Harrison clearly bring opposing energies to the table but together they combine as more than the sum of their parts. Fun enough to feel inclusive and approachable, but cool enough to make you wear their T-shirt, Human Interest already feel like they’re inhabiting an intoxicating middle ground.
When it comes to insatiable, joyful punk energy, however, we wanna be in Panic Shack’s gang. The quartet look like The Runaways, sound like a Welsh take on Amyl and the Sniffers, and come armed with both political savvy (‘Solidarity with strike workers’ reads vocalist Sarah Harvey’s top) AND a healthy smattering of choreography. Get yourself a band that can do it all. With a strong line in short, sharp messaging, Panic Shack clearly don’t believe in noodling. ‘Jiu Jitsu’ threatens to knock out a wandering-eyed pervert; ‘Meal Deal’ rages at being priced out of even a Tesco lunch, while anarchic closer ‘Who’s Got My Lighter?’ does what it says on the tin with pissed-off brilliance.
With only one EP to their name (last year’s ‘Euphoria’), Glasgow’s VLURE are still in their nascent stages, but the gaggle of hardcore fans gathered at the front for their headline set are testament to the following they’ve built in that short time. From the juddering processed voice that repeats “We are VLURE” as they take to the stage, tonight’s show is just as fully-formed: a supremely confident, fully-realised thirty minutes that feels more like a triumphant victory lap than a new artist showcase. Destroying the line between the rock show and the rave, VLURE’s canon is a heady, hedonistic whip through both; there are people on shoulders and full on mosh pits, but there’s also a Faithless cover and enough pulsing, endorphin-rushing electronics to feel more like Fabric on a Friday than the upstairs of a pub on a Tuesday.
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Katie Gregson-MacLeod, Sprints and Kynsy were also highlights at the first edition of the Dutch event since 2019.
Announcing the exclusive DIY x Fairsound Hello 2023 vinyl, featuring Gretel Hänlyn, Panic Shack, VLURE and more!
The limited run is available to preorder now.
It’s their first new music since the release of their debut EP ‘Euphoria’.
Throwing splashes of techno and punk, a laser-sharp aesthetic and a unified gang mentality into their confrontational sonic melting pot, Glaswegian quintet VLURE are the cool kids with hearts of gold.