Summer comes to Glasgow on a chilly January night. Mono's packed and there's a buzz in the air. Current Affairs (formerly Seconds) have a touch of the goff about them, in look and sound (think Banshees, The Cure, Joy Division, The Smiths, Magazine) but the determined grind of their rhythm section gets the blood going and they've melodies in spades. It's a compelling start to a flawless evening of live music.
Instead of taking us down the infernal paths she has followed of late, Ela Orleans opts to take a detour through especially hypnotic deep cuts from her back catalogue, bringing to mind a more ethereal Suicide and hints of later Coil at points. It's no mystery why Orleans has become a key figure in the Glasgow scene in recent years, the journeys she takes you on are never anything less than transportive, even when the set is deliberately more low-key than usual.
They crowd are really raring to go now and they aren't disappointed. Two versions of Sacred Paws play tonight, alternately -the core guitar, drums and dual vocals of Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers, and a special five-piece version with additional guitar, bass and keyboards (provided by Lewis Cook of Happy Meals). Both are brilliant. You can hear their previous band Golden Grrrls in the sound, with a heavy dash of The Raincoats (who they played a few gigs with last year) and West African highlife. It's a heady mix, and just what we all need right now. What happens in Mono tonight is a coming together of people, and their respective genders, sexualities, colours, ages and countries of origin are inconsequential. They're together, in this amazingly uplifting music. This gig is the anti-Trump, the anti-May, the anti-Brexit. There's no anger in it, grins abound. It's how things should be all the time. And it proves it's possible. And it's pretty easy, at that. A night worth remembering, in more ways than one.
Sacred Paws' debut album Strike a Match is out now on Rock Action.
Photos by Erika Sella. Text by Andrew R. Hill.