Taken at face-value, an alternative band from Norway, with an edgy sounding name, coming to play in a basement in Glasgow would strike fear in the heart of locals and ecclesiastics. But Sløtface (pronounced “Slutface”) aren’t here to subvert our moral universe – just for some good, clean fun as they tour their debut album Try Not to Freak Out.
The band’s name perfectly encapsulates their sound and image; they have some degree of rebellion in them, but it’s always kept at a distance so as to make them accessible and fairly safe. One moment in particular during the gig proved this, when the bass player, Lasse Lokøy, politely asked the audience if they like mosh-pits…as if he was encouraging us to freak out. The crowd, jovial but not boisterous, responded positively, before Lasse graced the dance-floor and bounced around for about 30 seconds. He returned to the stage to admire carnage he had inspired in a small pocket of the audience. He did, however, after the song had finished and moshing had ceased, leave the stage once more, this time with his phone’s torch on to retrieve something he had dropped during his brief moment of punk rock animalism.
To their credit, despite leaning more to the pop side of punk, Sløtface are politically active and use their platform to draw attention to social and environmental issues. The video for Sponge State follows the band braving the elements to perform on top of Førde Fjord in solidarity with protesters trying to prevent the dumping of 250 million tonnes of chemical waste in the fjord. The group have since been banned from that particular fjord. The song ANGST bemoans the covert misogyny of hipster boys who ignore the reality of women in pursuit of their shallow fantasy.
You got exactly what you would expect from a tight Sløtface performance at Broadcast – perfectly agreeable music, perfectly agreeable politics, and a perfectly safe evening. Everything about them feels palatable, which can leave a band that describes itself as punk lacking some potency if you’re a puritan. It would be unfair to say Sløtface’s music is full of platitudes as its content is undeniably important, but it is rather sugar-coated.
Politics and aesthetics aside, on a purely musical level, it was an excellent performance from the band. If you know what you’re getting from them and judge them on their own merits, you can’t deny Sløtface’s quality. They get a lot out of a standard lineup of guitar, bass, drums and singer, and played the crowd and venue with professionalism.
Before the headline act, those who arrived early enough caught half hour sets from Fauves and Lucia – two local bands who featured at this year’s Tenement Trail. Fauves were first on, and treated a steadily filling Broadcast to their unique pop-funk style. Their funky, playful sound is distilled through excellent musicianship, with delicate falsetto singing coming from a frontman almost too-tall to fit in the low-ceiling venue. Next up was Lucia, who brought a grittier, slightly more misanthropic, but nonetheless formidable sound; punky, fast, powerful. Her recent single featuring Roxy Agogo – Saturday Is Dead – being perhaps the best song of the night. Both Fauves and Lucia are releasing new music in the very near future, with Twilight Daylight already released from Fauves’ debut EP Les Fauves. You can catch Lucia next perform in Glasgow at the Old Hairdressers on December 7th.
Those who paid the very reasonable £8 entry to the gig were treated to three excellent performances from bands with a broad range of styles. You got to see the best of Glasgow along with a fast rising pop-punk act, gaining recognition for all the right reasons.