No Age @ Stereo, Glasgow 09/10/2010

October 17, 2010 by  

After the release of their impressive LP “Everything in Between” last month, No Age are now underway on a European tour which sees them travel up north of the border to Glasgow after a two year absence. With their combination of experimental, hardcore punk and indie-rock it would be interesting to see for myself if their live performance would push the heavily distorted soundscape of their albums to another level.

Firstly, local band Paws kicked things off and their raging indie-rock style was an appropriate start to what was going to be a loud night. Unfortunately they only had a small crowd to perform to being the first act, but this didn’t distract the band as they put everything into what was a decent and energetic set.

With the venue becoming busier, No Age’s fellow Sub Pop label mates and punk-rockers, Male Bonding took to the stage to perform a flawless set that included standout tracks such as “Crooked Scene” and “Weird Feeling”. Their sound was full of catchy fuzz-pop hooks and killer choruses which brought to mind the vibrant alt-rock style of Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr. They finished off with “Year’s Not Long”, a superb energetic closer to what was an excellent overall performance by the Londoners and it set the crowd up nicely for the headlining act.

No Age received a loud welcome as they walked on the stage, and they began with an interesting 10 minutes full of improvised experimentation of various noises, loops and samples – the type of progressive ear-splitting textures the likes of Kevin Shields used to deafen his audiences with. The instrumental then linked neatly into the first song of the night – the punchy opening track “Life Prowler” from their latest album. The crowd were rather still at this point and it wasn’t until the band introduced the pulsating “You’re a Target”, where they burst into chaotic moshing (even the occasional crowd surf) as the performance seemed to have turned from a My Bloody Valentine style shoegaze gig to more of a Fugazi punk one – highlighting the band’s ability to switch between those two contrasting styles effortlessly.

It was to be expected of course that the LA punks would be performing most of the tracks from their latest release and songs such as “Fever Dreaming” and “Depletion” were lively and full of noise. However, it was evident that there was more appreciation when they played a handful of tracks from their outstanding 2008 LP “Nouns”, and all of its fast paced tracks like “Sleeper Hold”, “Miner” and “Teen Creeps” excelled in crunching sonic noises and thrashing rhythms.

With an extra third member now with the band for sampling duties – it allowed more freedom for the main duo of guitarist Randy Randall and vocalist/drummer Dean Spunt to simply just rock out and enjoy themselves. They finished their main set off with a raucous version of “Shed and Transcend” before coming back on stage again to perform an encore of the scrappy punk outburst of “Boy Void”.

With the exception of the instrumental intro, most of the set tended to focus on their DIY punk ethos rather than their ambient and experimental one, which definitely allowed for a more thrilling performance. Despite a few of the steadier songs such as “Glisten” and “Common Heat” falling a little flat and almost sounding a little polite – No Age gave a solid performance full of energy and proved that they are one the finest indie-rock bands out there today.


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