NOISE hail from Dumbarton, a town to the west of Glasgow just as colourful in its culture as rough around the edges. Nothing about the four-man-band’s King Tuts set was rough around the edges, though: the six song show was seamless in its execution, a mix of older songs intermingled with never-played-before gems - Victor being a particular favourite - from a lockdown-induced creative burst.
Their debut performance at one of Glasgow’s most renowned and celebrated music venues made the pre-Covid cut in January 2019, and the sell-out gig, where the band supported The Nickajack Men, set a precedent for future performances. It seems only fitting, then, that just as the first King Tut's gig was before the pandemic, their second at the venue, as part of the venue's Summer Nights festival, came as restrictions finally eased, the animated atmosphere a semblance of a return of some kind of normality.
The crowd livened as the band stepped on stage, most having followed the band from Dumbarton to the venue. Drinks in hand, the room – left semi-spacious after the previous band had finished playing – was packed within minutes. The twang of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Luke Doleman’s voice reverberated around the venue, his laidback enunciation and trademark vocals part of what makes NOISE so distinguishable in the indie rock scene. The night started with the band’s latest release on Spotify, Clockwise, a preview of which was released as a phone recording in NOISE’s February EP as New Recording 204. An air of melancholy filters through most of NOISE’s songs, the cleverly crafted lyrics serve to entice, meaning dripping from every word. And nothing about the band’s songwriting could be considered substandard: from first to latest release, the band’s originality sets them apart. Even security, initially slightly prickled by the crowd, were nodding along in time.
"Drinks in hand, the room – left semi-spacious after the previous band had finished playing – was packed within minutes."
Junior Khawli is lead guitarist, responsible for the characteristic riffs that punctuate every one of NOISE’s songs. A personal favourite is the centrepiece of TOUCH, a number from the February EP; the delectable notes of its guitar solo both tease and tantalise to the point you’ll be playing it on repeat for weeks. It didn’t, however, make an appearance at the August gig; the Summer Nights event kept its tempo firmly upbeat, with firm favourite Third Time’s The Charm and upcoming release Victor both anthem-like in their popularity.
On bass guitar, Robbie Duncan holds up the underbelly of the music, adding complexity to NOISE’s sound. A brother act, Evan Doleman is the drummer, tying the songs together impeccably. The set drew to a close with Waltz, a guitar-heavy ballad that signified the end of NOISE’s first post-lockdown gig. The only criticism – and I’m sure the rest of the audience would agree – was that they didn’t play for longer; perhaps next time NOISE should take the main act slot themselves.
"The only criticism – and I’m sure the rest of the audience would agree – was that they didn’t play for longer."
“Over the summer, we’ve released our new single Clockwise,” Junior told The Glasgow Guardian. “It’s been well received by fans, both over social media and live in person, when we were playing at King Tut’s two weeks ago.
“That first gig back has been a massive boost for us, and we’re playing another gig in Glasgow at The Priory in support of The Velvet Hands for their UK tour. On top of that, our new single Victor is in the process of being mixed and mastered, with a release date coming over the next few weeks.”
With influences like Radiohead, the band are setting themselves ambitious targets against which they may draw comparisons, but the ambition is not misplaced. NOISE’s popularity is only growing, and as a commenter on The Weekender’s coverage of the band enthused: “They just need to be on a big stage somewhere after Covid.” In saying that, King Tut’s may be an intimate venue, but it holds great prestige. It’s where Blur played before they got famous, and so perhaps NOISE will follow suit…
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