The 7 inch single.
Back in the day, the feel of slipping out a shiny vinyl disc from its cardboard sleeve was hard to beat. Flipping it over in your hands to examine the labels; almost getting a feel from the music recorded on it from the shape and pattern of the grooves alone.
Maybe not going quite so far as sniffing it, but almost.
Underclass pay a nod to those prehistoric days with the release of their new single Bruised Eyes / Sheep (a double a-side, no less). Available on good old fashioned tactile vinyl from Bainbridge Music, each copy sold comes with a card unlocking a digital download, perfect for all those who wouldn’t know what to do with a vinyl record if it came spinning through the air towards them like a sharp black frisbee.
To celebrate the single launch, Underclass are headlining a gig at The Bongo Club. The merch stall is set up, the soundchecks are over, the floor is all sticky and things are about to kick off.
The Bongo’s a great venue for gigs. Although the likes of Henry’s and Sneaky’s are ideal for getting up close and personal with your favourite local bands, the Bongo’s stage and size make you feel as though you’re at a special gig, without having your view of the band obscured by that big tall bloke who always ends up standing in front of you.
First up are Scrap Brain, looking completely at home on the Bongo’s stage. Angie does her usual and prowls around like some kind of rock big cat, making full use of the space between her and Myke, who bangs out bass, guitar and synth riffs to help create SB’s whirling tornado of sound. Stew keeps them both in check with his signature beats and the band put on a great and captivating performance.
Though their energy and presence is immediate, Scrap Brain’s songs take a few listens before they hit home – but when they do, they burrow into your grey matter like little post-punky weevils.
Picking up where Scrap Brain leave off are Glasgow-based three-piece The Red Show. Their sound defies easy categorisation, but it’s filled with bluesy riffs and rock tunes which rise so high they get all tangled up in the netting hanging from the Bongo’s ceiling.
Frontman Gareth leads The Red Show in a tight and varied set: songs alternating between rocking chest-thumpers, where Swales’ bass comes into its seismic own; and some funkier stuff which showcases Mike’s versatility on the drums. This is no-nonsense rock music at its finest, and Edinburgh should always be ready to put on a warm welcome for these lads whenever they decide to play here.
By the time local heroes Underclass take the stage, the venue is packed – it seems like all the band’s many fans have turned out tonight to celebrate their single launch with them.
Their set of powerful multi-layered rock songs is impressive; Mikey’s guitar and Kevin’s keys adding a kaleidoscopic texture to Sean’s bass and Callum’s drums as John belts out their hook-laden songs which reel you in by the ribcage.
There’s a camaraderie on stage as well, with the lads obviously enjoying themselves up there, which gives them a presence and energy to match their material (although a soaking-wet Mikey may disagree a little with this, after John drenches him with water midset).
By the time the gig’s over, there’s a queue at the merch desk and Underclass have proven themselves to be strong contenders as one of Edinburgh’s bands likely to smash their way out of their class restrictions and make it big.