The Warlocks : Glasgow King Tuts Wah Wah Hut

Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to, er…take drugs to?

Drugs, as any social pillar will tell you, do not make you popular. They do not make you prettier, smarter, or cooler. You will not find lasting happiness at the end of a line, nor will you find enlightenment once their effects wear off. What drugs will do for you, however, is make you very scary indeed, a premise [a]Warlocks[/a] have been trading under for some time now.

Ironic, then, that the seven blank-eyed narcotics sponges that make up [a]Warlocks[/a]bound onstage to Beethoven’s ‘Ode To Joy’. Frontman Bobby Hecksher is even sporting a new, 80’s-friendly Robert Smith topiary display on his bonce, rather than his old virginal-goth curtains job. You might almost say he looks quite dapper. Until, that is, the house lights go up and you realise he looks like death, warmed up in a decidedly shonky microwave.

It’s business as usual, then: choruses have a gestation period akin to that of small rodents, and the crowd doesn’t so much [I] ‘Rock’[/I] as [I]‘Sway gently in the gloomy aftermath’[/I]. The whole thing comes across like [a]Velvet Underground[/a] only with even more of that dodgy brown stuff being pumped through their veins. It’s as dark as rock’n’roll gets and makes us think that if [a]Johnny Cash[/a] wore black for downtrodden, then [a]Warlocks[/a] do so because it’s the colour of their hearts.

But whereas their triple-guitar, two-drumkit assault sounds amazing – especially on single-of-the-year contender ‘Hurricane Heart Attack’ – the band themselves look aloof to the point of boredom, and in the really slow moments it rubs off on the crowd. This is a minor gripe, though. Because [a]Warlocks[/a] make music untouched by fashion and straight from the heart. The darkest, most twisted hearts you’ll ever come across.

Barry Nicolson