Monday, October 23, 2023

Squid Are Redefining The Post-Punk Genre With An Electric Live Show At Glasgow’s Barrowlands

Performing at Glasgow’s iconic Barrowland Ballroom as part of their ‘O Monolith’ tour, Squid proved that they are one of the most talented and unique groups of musicians to come out of the UK.

Formed in Brighton back in 2016, Squid rose to popularity after releasing their successful 2019 EP ‘Town Centre’ which received critical acclaim and helped the band build their ever-growing fanbase.

O Monolith’, the album which shares the same name as the tour, was released back in June of this year in which the band is heard further experimenting and bending the rules of the post-punk genre.

As the crowd anxiously waited for the five piece to grace the stage, the sound of isolated cowbells was heard, slowly each member walked onto the stage and added to the mixture of sounds. At this point I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into, the key was off and the time signature was non-existent, however as more instruments joined the more sense the music made. The combination of sounds eventually came to a head as the song transitioned into the opening to Squid’s first track of their most recent album ‘Swing (In A Dream)’. This opening to the gig perfectly captured the madness that was to come.

From this moment on, each song flowed seamlessly into one another. Featuring interludes of improvisational cello and trumpet solos aggressively moving into the post-punk sounding ‘Narrator’ which then transitioned into the tamer ‘After The Flash’ that towards the end merges into a prog rock-jazz fusion, showing the versatility and talent of the band.

As the music went on the mosh pits only got bigger, and the crowd only got louder. The truly electric atmosphere proved that Squid has an extremely loyal fanbase with the audience screeching with excitement at the first few notes of each song, knowing the musical genius that is about to come. 

There is not one word to accurately describe the experience that is seeing Squid perform. To try and describe the music of squid would be nearly impossible, they simply do not fall into the classic post-punk genre that they are labelled as. The overpowering elements of improvisational jazz mixed with elements of rock and punk is one thing, however throughout the gig the band experimented with electronica and, what can be best described as techno.

This whole combination once again shows the sheer talent of the band who throughout the gig not only swap instruments with one another, but all play more than one instrument, all whilst keeping a cool and calm demeanour, making it look easy. Even to watch the magic of lead singer and drummer Ollie Judge perform is a wonder. How he manages to sing in a different time signature from the drum pattern he is playing, mixed with the genre-bending music from the rest of the band is truly something that has to be seen to be believed.

Squid ended with the song ‘The Blades’ which finishes on an almost acoustic ending with Judge coming out from behind the drums for the first time to sing to the audience from centre stage. This left the band only wanting more with the classic Scottish crowd chanting for "one more tune" to no success, proving that Squid doesn’t do the predictable encore of their most famous song, they know their fans will be loyal regardless.

It is difficult to describe the whirlwind experience of seeing Squid perform live other than it is something that everyone who appreciates raw talent must witness, and I personally couldn’t recommend it enough.

Jodie Marshall


Image: SQUID Tour Poster

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