Human Don’t Be Angry - The Arches, Glasgow, Sat 25 Feb
Malcolm Middleton's side project gets a satisfying full-band outing
For those who knew Malcolm Middleton only from his days as one half of the funniest band ever to be famous for misery, or even as the alt folk jangler behind ‘A Brighter Beat’ and one-time Christmas No 1 outsider ‘We’re All Going to Die’, this, the first full band gig for his Human Don’t Be Angry project, will have come as something of a surprise.
There were hints throughout two years of solo HDBA shows, as Middleton explored endless guitar loops and instrumental territory more ambient than anything we’d heard from previous projects. Nevertheless, this transformation into a full-on uplifting post-rock band – and a very good one at that – was a pleasant surprise.
It’s a well-structured set that holds the attention as it journeys from fairly modest instrumentals that build satisfyingly to ever more thunderous crescendos, through the emergence of chiming guitar melodies towards more vocals in the final third. By Middleton’s own admission, the forthcoming HDBA album on Chemikal Underground was a return to musical exploration that ‘did not turn out exactly as he had planned’ – if this show is anything to go by, the results, however surprising, will be most satisfying for all concerned.