Defy limits and conventions without trying
Sound OF Guns

The set opens with a bizarre American radio bulletin: ‘Sound the alarm across the last days….the last generation and the last time. The events are unfolding dramatically…destruction…’

I am amazed at such direct words in an age where everyone sits on the fence. Nathan later tells me the story behind the use of such an intro.

Nathan: ‘This is absolutely true. When we first got together as a band, I started getting radio through on my amplifier. It was this American fella called Brother Stare, this mad fascist fella. We recorded it and googled him. This full-on nutter, ‘The Overcomer’ – someone like Charles Manson with crazy religious followers. Yet there’s something in there that sums up.’

But Brother Stare’s message has nothing on the rush of sound as the bass thumps in from ‘Elementary of Youth’ followed by a storming belt of guitars like an iron wall. The crowd begins to swell followed by ‘Sometimes’, a tune off their yet-to-be released second album. The song itself is an uplifted fist of a song with soaring guitar solos you could stand on. Andy is already lost in the corwd.

‘Are you with us, Rockness, yeah?’ his voice, rough and sharp as a razor blade, yells.

‘Collisions’ is a firm favourite with Scottish crowds and hands are already in the air. The next song, ‘Breakwater’, Andy dedicates ‘to the people who put this tent up. You having a good time? You like Kasabian last night? I liked Sergio’s hat but he wouldn’t give it to me.’ He mounts the monitors as the cataclysmic song revs up the already enthusiastic crowd. 'I'm till waiting for this big monster to come up out of the loch and get involved. We saw a monster get out of Brother’s tent this morning…’

The next song, again from the second album, is arguably one too. And one that will lift them from being a great band to an arena-filling one. ‘The Leaning’ opens with a heavy dark bassline humming. This song is a soundscape in the style of ‘Echo and the Bunnymen’, portraying the texture and ache of a wasteland with the same elegant precision and dinosaur-dromed atmosphere. It’s the song that takes you along in the wake of its tsunami, a song that wouldn’t have been out of place as several twelve inch versions.

‘Architects’ opens with the desperate staccatos of lead guitars representing the screams of the ones left on the debris of a lost land. Andy re-emerges in the crowd again as it starts screaming. He is then actually standing on two of the security’s shoulders while slapping a mad rush of hi-fives, guitars slicing behind him. It’s an uncompromising anthemic howl of a tune which is sung back by the crowd. Andy returns to the stage puffing on a lit cigarette.

‘Thanks a lot, Scotland. Who gave me this cigi, man? Fuckin’ Marlborough. What the fuck?’

Andy: ‘Thanks a lot, Scotland. A round of applause for security. They’ve been dead sound. We’ve been looking forward to this all year.’

The last song is the escape ‘Alcatraz’ with bodies still dancing and apparently six hundred knowing the lyrics. Suddenly several members of the crowd run on stage and try to leap on Nathan and Lee’s backs. At the same time, Andy, while still belting out lyrics, has managed to climb twenty five feet up the scaffolding where he hangs precariously by one arm, singing lustily.

The crowd is more than satisfied: half an hour of the Sounds of Guns and a proper show too. These guys defy limits and conventions without trying. They just are who they are, no more and certainly no less.

Words by Jaime Scrivener
Photos by Steven Brown (@sbrownphoto) and Colin 'TwoThumbsFresh' McQuillen (@TwoThumbsFresh)
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