A couple of weeks ago I went to see a band called “Band of Skulls”. Similarly as to when I went to see a band called “Eagles of Death Metal”, the very name of the band prompts raised eyebrows and questions of what type of “noise” I’m inflicting upon myself.
Interestingly, both bands are similarly positioned in the rock catalogue. Neither are “heavy” nor particularly satanic, instead they sit in the musical catalogue alongside the likes of The White Stripes and Kings of Leon.
The Band of Skulls gig was in a venue I’d never been to before, the Classic Grand in Glasgow, which is up four flights of stairs in what I presume was an old cinema. It’s a tight venue and even standing at the back of the hall, the band were no more than about 60 metres away (that’s about 200 feet in old money).
I bought their album after spotting a brief recommendation in, I think, Esquire. I initially forgot about it but soon started coming back to it time and again. It’s an oddly paced album, and I often found myself checking to see what was playing, only to find it was one of theirs. This is partly down to sharing lead vocals between the male guitarist and female bass player, and also because the songs themselves happily float from rock, to pop-laden ballad, to a drug-hazed blues drawl. Not since Gotye have I been so happily flummoxed by the change of pace the album has.
And the live experience isn’t half bad either. The sound mix was spot on, and the Grohl-esque drumming added an appropriate intensity that some of the album tracks lack.
One advantage of going to a ‘small’ gig for a relatively unknown band is that, in a few years time, I’ll be able to see them again and see how much they’ve learned. I’m not entirely sure Band of Skulls will offer me that opportunity though as they’ve already got one helluva live show, and delivered a damn good night.
I’m not one for making predictions about bands, but if this lot don’t end up on the main stage at Glastonbury some day then there is something wrong somewhere.