You’ve got to hand it to King Tut’s and DF Concerts; putting on 70 Scottish acts across two weeks is no mean feat, but they’ve managed it with great aplomb with the ‘Summer Nights’ event running throughout July. Tonight, synth-pop act Other Humans headline the venue with support from Rebel Westerns, The Van Dammage and Up the Dancin’.
Arriving just on time to catch Edinburgh-based outfit Rebel Westerns proves to be a stroke of luck, as despite little prior knowledge of the band, they seriously impress with an energetic set full of indie pop tunes perfect for summer. In Dominic Thomson the band have a born frontman, whose hip-swinging would give Alex Turner a run for his money, while their combination of jangly indie riffs, sparkling synths and pop melodies is reminiscent of bands like The 1975. However, there’s enough individuality here to suggest that the four-piece have a bright future ahead; their song ‘Nightdrive’ for example is more than dance-worthy and will be stuck in your head for days after listening. By the end of their set, the crowd is clapping along as they look to give Other Humans a tough act to follow.
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The synth-pop foursome certainly give it their best shot though. Having only been about for just over a year, it’s clear how much these guys have developed as a live act having taken the time to develop their craft with only a small number of tracks available online. From the outset, frontman Darren Martin looks up for the occasion, moving around the stage with great swagger, while boasting that wonderfully deep voice that is perfect for synth-pop music. The band centres around his onstage charisma and trusty keyboard, as they convey strong chemistry and tight instrumentation throughout the set.
Boasting the kind of arena-ready choruses, singalong refrains and infectious riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place in a set by The Killers, it feels like you’re watching an already established band. They have more to offer though, becoming almost hypnotic at times in low-key moments, before bringing in thumping percussion and impressive guitar solos to bring the tempo up again. The highlight has to be ‘Valley’, even better live than on record; it’s teasing in its gradual start before exploding into life with racing synths and ‘woah-woah’ refrains, with a persistent bassline and those deep vocals adding character.
Other Humans take a distinctive eighties synth-pop sound and make it cool and relevant. Already causing a stir in the Scottish music scene, it won’t be long till their appeal widens.
This Other Humans article was written by Suzanne Oswald, a GIGsoup contributor