Live Review: Boston Manor, Microwave at SWG3

While SWG3 is not immediately what you might have in mind when you think of where pop-punk underdogs Boston Manor would play while in Glasgow, but it seems fitting. The Warehouse, one of the smaller rooms in the multi-purpose arts venue is filled comfortably with emo kids young and (slightly) old(er).

There are 4 bands on the bill tonight. I’m told that the first, Wallflower, were onstage at around half 6  but, unfortunately, I did miss them and fellow supports Drug Church. I am reassured by fellow attendees that they were class, and that my late coming was a oversight on my part. The reaction being something closer to: “oh my GOD I can’t believe you missed them wtf?? They were so good!!”

Nathan Hardy of Microwave. Photograph by Nathan Matheson

Who I did get to see on this bill, however, are Microwave, a four-piece from Atlanta, Georgia. Evidently, they have come a long way to play this set, and my god, do they play.

While the set itself begins more on a somber note with the song ‘Drown, this is not an indication for the set ahead. They go from strength to strength, at one point the singer/guitarist of the band, Nathan Hardy, even loses the baseball cap he’s wearing to the stage due to the ferocity of his performance. Given that they are self described as “kinda in between soft rock and hard rock,” it’s easy to see how in a live setting they are able to seamlessly cascade between the two. At times, they marry the two together to create something that feels unique to them, and it’s an extremely pleasant watch.   

At one point during the set – blood happens. Specifically from Hardy’s fingers onto his guitar. This doesn’t stop the band, of course, and they continue with their set. The began to round off their set with a song called ‘Dull,’ which is clearly a crowd pleaser, as someone shouts “aw, shag my arse,” when they announce that they’ll be playing it. I’m not sure if the person in the crowd got their wish – but the song itself is received warmly. The song is a prime example of the marrying of the soft rock/hard rock hybrid in which the lyrics chronicle a yearning for love and connection for a person that seems to appear to be, in the end, not really worth it.

Henry Cox of Boston Manor. Photograph by Nathan Matheson

Next up are the main lads, Boston Manor, who came on stage in darkness, but red hues bleed into the darkness from vertical columns. This is akin to the colour scheme of their latest album, Welcome To The Neighbourhood, released in September of this year.

The crowd interaction I’d expected for a show like this, is usually is the trademark pop-punk finger pointing. But tonight it’s actually more reminiscent of the rap battle scene from Eminems’ Eight Mile. I’ll admit – it’s a bit humourous to see a room full of young white guys do this – but if anything, it’s quite touching to see them all moving in harmony to the music.

Although the sound and response to songs from the new album do generate this type of movement given the more dark, grungy sound that they have taken on this new release. The song ‘Bad Machine,’ that’s played is a prime example of that, which is a blend of a brooding menace with a quiet confidence. It has mischievous big dick energy, if you will, and on stage – they show it off to the masses.

That’s not to say it’s low energy, as within the first couple of songs there are small pits that happen as well as crowd surfers, who are consistent throughout the set.

Singer of the band, Henry Cox, even goes as far to shout out the security guards for their work at keeping the audience members safe.

Throughout, Cox is able to keep the audience in the palm of his hand – and they lap up every minute of it. He urges them to “get the fuck up” at least 7 times over the course of the night – but given that it is a Glasgow audience, get up they do.

The end of the set closes on the soaring and triumphant ‘Halo,’ which inspires the biggest pit of the night and the night ends of a high of sweat and (hopefully) catharsis for those of all ages.


Written by Alisa Wylie (Twitter: @alisawwrites)

Photographs by Nathan Matheson (Instagram: @nathanm2197)