Drab Majesty

Broadcast, Glasgow on Fri 20th Sep 2019

American new wave revivalists Drab Majesty return to Glasgow, just a short three months since their last show in the city. In the current subterranean, there is nostalgia for the ‘80s gothic/post-punk/new wave and Drab Majesty are one of the few spearheading  the movement. Glaswegians clearly can’t get enough of these purveyors of tragic as, just like their June show, tonight’s performance is a total sell out event. Unfortunately, the Broadcast is far more compact than their previous venue, Audio, meaning favourable vantage points will eschew a sizeable chunk of the attendees.

This time, the moody duo come strapped with a new album; ‘Modern Mirror’ is their third full-length since their conception in 2011. The Glaswegian congregation are eager to hear it, stuffing Broadcast a while before the band gets on stage. But there’s no need to hurry as it takes Drab Majesty a full twenty minutes past their planned time before they get on stage. The two all white-clad musicians proceed to light the night with opener from their new album entitled ‘A Dialogue’. Deb Demure provides haunting but luscious guitar melodies, intertwined with melancholic haunts provided by Mona D’s keyboard. This is backed by archetypically ‘80s taped drums and thick bass. Sadly, these non-existent drums and bass completely overpower the live vocals, keyboard and guitar work. Even stage banter between songs is a struggle to hear, although they did definitely state that Glasgow is their favourite city in the UK to play.

Despite sound complications, the black sunglasses-bespectacled pair soldier on with their setlist. ‘Modern Mirror’ is favourably promoted  with the refreshingly honest ‘Oxytocin’, the proudly synthpop ‘The Other Side’ and keyboard focussed ‘Long Division’ being particular highlights. Drab Majesty’s fidelity to the ‘80s is excellent, only noticeable from authenticity by its hyper luxurious tones. Older set pieces include ‘Dot in the Sky’, ‘Cold Souls’ and ‘Everything Is Sentimental’, the latter sadly being the sole track from the boastfully goth ‘Careless’ debut album.  The crammed room means it’s difficult to clearly glimpse any of the two band members. A few lucky ones have managed to stand on the seating around the edge of the venue to improve their view. With both members handling  vocal duties, their stage presence is limited and this feels magnified by the poor sound. Disinterested attendees start chatting over the music and some leave before the night is over, a slap in the face for those not fortunate enough to secure tickets.

On the plus side, Drab Majesty do belt out a full set that went on later than usual, but this is no real issue on a Friday night! An encore consists of the dreamy ‘Too Soon To Tell’, a beautiful majestic anthem and one of the night’s highlights. Although tonight is not one of Drab Majesty’s best live ventures, the band are not responsible for this. The poor sound of the Broadcast’s basement is not amicable to their rich otherworldly cacophony. Hopefully this will not deter them from Glasgow and they will retain the city on their tour trips, returning sooner than the city can expect.


article by: Elena Francis

published: 24/09/2019 13:37

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