The Qemists Live at King Tut’s
I’ve always had a pretty broad range of interests when it comes to music. But there are still one or two genres which I just don’t like. One of them is Drum & Bass. And that’s a bit of a problem because The Qemists, who performed the Scottish leg of their UK tour at Kung Tut’s in Glasgow on Monday night, blend the massive power chords of metal music with – yes you’ve guessed it – Drum & Bass…
However despite this, I jumped at the chance to go along because I have a theory. And this was the perfect opportunity to put that theory to the test. I’ve always believed that if you have a love of live music and an open mind, you can go to pretty much any genre of musical performance and – assuming the artist/band is good at what they do – there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the show. Obviously I draw the line at mass produced crappy manufactured boy and girl bands, but you get my drift.
Before our headliners took to the stage, The Algorithm warmed up the audience with a great performance. Although The Algorithm’s recorded material is the solo work of French musician Remi Gallego, he is joined by Mike Malyan on drums for live performances. The Algorithm bring together elements of progressive metal, mathcore and electronic music. There were many samples of what sounded like 8-bit computer sound effects throughout each song, so being an 80’s kid I warmed to this quickly. There were points however, that seemed like Remi had programmed his box of computer trickery to unleash the lowest and most brutal baseline you can imagine whilst he hammered out power chords on his guitar, simply to create the loudest possible noise he could. That kinda turned things into a test of your ears’ endurance which isn’t my idea of fun. But in saying that, overall the set was pretty enjoyable and very impressive in parts.
So, on to The Qemists. Having recently completed a European tour supporting Korn and released their Warrior Sound album, The Qemists are now touring the UK. Their current lineup consists of Bruno Balanta and Olly Simmons (both vocals), Dan Arnold (bass), Leon Harris (drums) and Liam Black (guitar).
Their setlist contained songs from Warrior Sound as well as tracks from their previous albums Join the Q and Spirit in the System. First thing that I noticed was how quickly I stopped trying to listen to the individual Drum & Bass, Dance and Metal elements within each song and just hooked into (and enjoyed) the sound as a whole. It had all the power chords, energy and aggressiveness I like from metal music, set to a thunderous dance-orientated drum and baseline. There are definite echoes of The Prodigy at their best in much of this – and that isn’t a bad thing. Bruno and Olly compliment eachother brilliantly on vocals and work the audience fantastically, while the rest of the band pull the different musical elements and influences together to form their distinctive sound.
So, going back to my original theory – does it hold up? In the case of The Qemists, the answer is a resounding yes. These guys are damn good and are absolutely worth going to see live. I was really surprised at how much I liked their style of music and am surprised that there aren’t more bands doing this. And I really admire the guys for going out in their own direction to make music they love.
If you’re a dyed in the wool, fully paid up metal fan who is totally set in your ways, then you might not like The Qemists. However, if you’ve got an open mind you won’t be disappointed.
One final note. I know King Tuts is a legendary venue and is certainly one of the best small venues I’ve ever visited. But starting their headline act at 10:05 – on a Monday night??? Surely that’s a wee bit late…
Right, where’s my pipe and slippers?