Friday 1 April 2016

Catholic Action and Bellybuttons at Nice n Sleazys

Glasgow has a fine history of guitar pop bands with a sense of humour, intelligence, fun and a gang mentality - think Orange Juice, Teenage Fanclub, Belle and Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand. Last night Nice n Sleazys fell in love with Catholic Action who showed all the signs required to join those mentioned above in the near future.

Of course, many had already fallen for the band who showed so much promise through 2015 (see my interview with singer Chris from Dec 2015 HERE ), a few more had been added following the re-release of their song L.U.V as a 7-inch single on Luv Luv Luv Records. The song had originally been released on cassette through local label Fuzzkill Records.

I have been really impressed with the taste and work ethic of Fuzzkill and one their other bands, The Bellybuttons, were second on the bill. Sadly due to kid duties (and a swift pint in The Variety) my mate and I didn’t make it in time to see The Van T’s who opened an excellent 3 band bill.

We arrived bang on 9pm just as The Bellybuttons were tuning up and turning on. Joe and I had both caught them at Mono back in November when they supported Ultimate Painting and had enjoyed their guitar interplay (think Velvets and Pavement). The band were clearly having fun on stage and during Battling With Caring they had the confidence and skills to slow things down and go into a Dexy’s style talking mode all about the subject of care and caring. It was brilliant and really got the crowd on their side. Bellybuttons were beautifully tight and slack at the same time, finding a sound and a groove and jamming on it with Lou Reed style vocals at times - I look forward to seeing them again in the near future.

Catholic Action came on stage at 10pm promptly, thanked the crowd and burst into life. You know how I mentioned about those classic bands having a gang mentality? Catholic Action look like a real gang, like a band. They were super tight, flying through 3-minute guitar pop/rock songs with ease.

Catholic Action marry frenetic rhythm and lead guitar superbly, echoes of Thin Lizzy at times (playful, melodic, soulful, poppy) and also a touch of AC/DC (or am I going too far?) - but in a guitar pop/rock way. Simplistic disco/soul baselines and funky/simple beats help allow the duelling guitars to play and gel beautifully, with both guitarists showing fantastic skills and ears for rhythm, melody, riffs and fun. They pulled it off with ease, making their songs sound familiar yet different - does that make sense?!

Probably not! But think Franz Ferdinand and early Teenage Fanclub in a basement bar, the band brimming with energy and belief.

New songs mixed with old - not that any are that old, the band only formed in November 2014! They tore through L.U.V and must have knocked 10-second off its already poptastic 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Encore? Well the band literally went off for 10-seconds before bounding back on to play a song dedicated to an X-Factor judge. Rita Ora was the subject of a quite brilliant upbeat guitar pop/rock song with a hooky chorus playing on her name.

I mentioned humour and fun in the opening paragraph and Catholic Action displayed it in abundance by finishing with a stunning version of Hi Ho Silver Lining, ripping through it with style and panache.


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