Up the endless, Escher-esque stairs in an old industrial building off Sauchiehall Street, you will find The Attic – The Garage’s more intimate gig venue. It is here that Spielbergs played their first gig on Scottish soil (or several flights of stairs above Scottish soil).
The Garage might be synonymous with chart music and thumping dance music, but if you wander round the back, their venues are well known amongst the indie, hardcore and punk crowds. In this case, the crowd was a bit light in numbers. Unfortunate given that Spielbergs are playing their part in keeping one of the most influential genres of music alive.
Despite coming from the icy climes of Norway, Spielbergs have landed on a sound similar to that of San Diego’s Wavves. The fuzzy feedback and snarling, angsty-teenager vocals tie the two bands closely. They part ways when Wavves surf off into smoky, sun-drenched, SoCal punk while Spielbergs remain in a place that discontent emo bands reside in.
The difference between Spielbergs and those emo bands is that the whining is left to the guitars and amps. As disconnected and dissatisfied as they may be, they avoid the irritating complaints of less mature bands from the UK or US.
This is also reflected in the music, as the fullness of the bass and drums give the band a well-rounded dynamic that keeps them in garage rock territory but without seeming amateurish. The night was bookended by the two songs that best showcase this – ‘Five on It’ and ‘Distant Star’.
The influence of noise rock, and in particular some of Sonic Youth’s work, gives the band a solid foothold. In a bigger venue with a cleaner setup, that influence could be a lot more obvious and the band would sound better for it. To ask Spielbergs (or any other band) to reach even half the level of substance or quality of Sonic Youth would be too much, but that influence is always welcome.
Spielbergs largely fit into the category of headphone rock – where there is plenty of energy and feeling involved to nod along to, but that energy does not always transfer into physical energy throughout a crowd. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Just an indication that songs about alienation or discontentment are reaching the right people, who will eventually wrench themselves from darkened rooms especially to see the composers of their anthems.
review by Luke Hawkins