Single By Sunday, Harlitones & The Cliftons – The Tunnels, Aberdeen – 02/12/16
This was the first visit to Aberdeen for these colour-coded (they each have different hair colour) lads from Glasgow. I suspected I might be the oldest person there for this 14+ gig and this was pretty much confirmed when I got there, even with the parents lining the walls at the back of the venue. Still, I had a better time than I was expecting, considering I like my music a lot more Grrr than Pop.
Local band The Cliftons kicked off the evening and were in full swing when I arrived. I’ve only seen this band once before – almost a year ago now. I remember the four of them as looking very young and clean-cut but they’ve matured into a nice indie rock band; one I’ll make a point of seeing again, probably in January when they headline their second EP launch at The Tunnels.
Next on the menu were another local band, the Harlitones – a new one to me and elected as support by popular vote on Facebook. It’s a neat idea actually and a good way of getting local folk along; Single By Sunday asked their page followers to suggest support acts for their gigs on the tour. Usually a foursome, they were only three tonight but you’d not have realised. A rock band with a hard driving beat, an enthusiastic drummer that reminded me of a much less hairy David Grohl in looks, and a noisy following that came along to support them. They’ll be playing The Tunnels in January too, supporting The Cliftons.
A quick changeover and, running slightly late, Single By Sunday were ready to go. They are lead singer Josh (with red hair), Jonny on guitar (blue), Jack on bass (purple) and drummer George (yellow). You can tell right away they love what they do, they’re enthusiastic and bouncy and they knew how to get their crowd jumping.
They have a grittier sound live, which I was relieved to hear. Recorded tunes can often come off a bit over-polished – radio-friendly – which the younger female punters love. However, as it is precisely that audience they are aimed at, I’ll have to let them off.
Most of the Glaswegian bands I come across are obviously Scottish – you can hear their accent as they sing. Not these lads, they have a somewhat Americanised vocal style – with influences from 5 Seconds of Summer, Busted (who they cover with the very bouncy Year 3000) and The Vamps, among others.
The set list – (in random order) My Kinda Girl, Get up Get Out, Girl Next Door, Romeo, Stay With Me, Colourblind, SBS – is interspersed with short improvised skits – the Friends theme – and a longer version of Auld Lang Syne, kicked off by the audience when the band announce their last song. They throw in another cover towards the end – the Proclaimers 500 miles. Sorry lads, I’m just not a Proclaimers fan so that was the only downer of the set for me.
There’s a lot of good natured banter between band and crowd and everyone seemed to be having a great time. As Josh said, next time they come up they hope to fill the place and, if they can keep the momentum up, I am sure they will. For a band that only formed in July 2015, they are amazingly good at what they do. Expect to hear more from them.