Gig: ERRORS / REMEMBERREMEMBER (Oran Mor, Glasgow, 10/10/08)

Cramming three bands into two and a half hours meant that by the time I arrived just half an hour after the doors opened, the first band had already been and gone. It’s a regular feature these days, particularly at weekends, where venues put on a gig followed by a club night – two lots of admission instead of one, so more money for them. But it makes the evening feel rushed, like you’re just a bean being processed and spat out.

RememberRemember I did see. I’ve reviewed him/them before. The music is based around looped samples, gradually building a piece from scratch, with innovative use of plastic toys and other ephemera. The problem with this method, though, is that if the samples don’t gel, it’s easy to end up with a total mess. It’s music making without the aid of a safety net, and unfortunately the first two tunes went seriously awry, degenerating into directionless, formless gunk. The second half, aided by a trio of supporting players on violin, sax and drums, was far more successful. With more energy, and less spiralling around in ever decreasing circles, these pieces had a pleasingly epic quality. It would be easy to iron out the glitches by using pre-prepared samples on a laptop, so full credit to Graeme for going down the more uncertain route. Although there is more that can go wrong, it means that there is a level of improvisation and uniqueness to each performance that keeps things, even the failures, consistently interesting.

The first time I saw Errors back in 2004, they seemed to spend more time patching their equipment together with brown paper and sealing wax than they did playing. Last year when they supported Underworld they’d developed into a sleek and mean disco machine, effortlessly blending experimental indie rock with technoid dance grooves. The sound tonight was considerably beefed up, which was a bit of a mixed blessing. Several tracks seemed to trade character and swing for power, leaving a bombastic indie rock that was as empty as it was slick. When they hit the mark, though, which they did with increasingly frequency as the set progressed, the groove came back. The most successful tracks had a punk-funk feel or a four-to-the-floor rhythm aimed squarely at the feet. Towards the end, they were letting fly with some truly exhilarating stuff that more than made up for some of the more lumpen rock they’d begun with. The dance-rock template may be something that the band would like to branch out from, but it remains their real strength.

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