It’s Saturday night, The iconic Garage on Sauchiehall Street is bursting at the seams, crowd fizzing, fuelled by the anticipation of Fife’s The Shambolics stepping on stage. The anticipation is undeniable. The excitement is palpable… The heart of Scotland’s music scene beats loud.
The moment arrives, days after the release of debut EP ‘U SERIOUS BOY?!’, an impressive slice of melodic indie-pop revival, marrying cool, smooth energetic guitar solos and emotional heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics, the band step onto the Garage stage, the crowd go absolutely ballistic.
Launching into festival-friendly ‘Sharp as a Razor’, their music and lyrics resonate with the crowd, which refreshingly is made up of young, old, couples, first dates, friends and the passionate persuasion of Scottish music aficionados.
The Shambolics have quickly built something of a cult following. Songwriting duties are split between leads Lewis McDonald and Darren Forbes, allowing the band to switch between rock and roll swagger of tracks such as ‘Chasing a Disaster’ and the more melancholic melodic ballads of ‘Living in Shadows’.
Drums are the responsibility of the effervescent Jake Bains, silky wet bass belongs to Ben Sharp, and Scotty Paws adds a touch of sexy synth to the party. Together with the songwriting storytelling of the leads, they create a unique, melodic, pop-rock soundscape.
The sweaty, near-capacity Garage crowd lap up each and every minute. Following the resounding track ‘If You Want It’, Forbes asks the pulsating crowd who’s the ‘maddest Shambolics fan in the place’, and hands one lucky punter a GoPro to film the chaos. There’s a natural rapport and flowing chemistry between the band and the boisterous crowd.
With hints of Stone Roses, The Smiths, early Arctic Monkeys, The View and perhaps a defiant touch of The Libertines, The Shambolics’ influences channel many of the iconic bands who helped create and build the entire indie genre.
Tracks such as ‘Dreams, Schemes & Young Teams’ are hugely well-received on the night, and offer a sense of empowerment for the crowd, young and old, effectively telling them to get out and live their best life, you’ve only got one. In this current climate of pulsating negativity, a message of positivity is an unquestionably powerful message to present to your fans and the world.
Closing with ready-made festival singalong ‘When She Goes Home’, The Shambolics finish the night to the sound of fervent adoration from the Glasgow crowd.
Whether it’s dropping Alice Deejay’s millennium anthem ‘Better Off Alone’, during a brief interlude, keeping the party atmosphere bouncing (much like the floorboards) or the talented emotive storytelling that seems to lie deep within every track.
On Saturday night in Glasgow, one thing became readily apparent, much like the name of their punkish anthemic track from their new EP: ‘Take It or Leave It’, The Shambolics have arrived.
U SERIOUS BOI?! is out now via Scruff of the Neck Records