Australians from far and wide have turned up to worship at the alter of Ian Kenny and co as Karnivool’s Divergence Tour rolls into town.
Aussie accents can be heard over the house music, debating which of the band’s three albums is the best (it’s Asymmetry by the way, hands down) and lamenting why they can get Foster’s lager much cheaper in Glasgow than back home. Presumably, there are countless city bars entirely without staff tonight – but pints can wait when there’s rock’n’roll to be had.
Support act, Brit prog metallers Monuments, spend almost as much time soundchecking as they do playing, but still manage to suffer a muddy audio which has an impact on what would otherwise have been an entertaining set.
Strange then that Karnivool’s sound is near flawless. Opener C.O.T.E. hits hard, with the band’s trademark pulsating guitar sound shaking off the early nerves and setting the scene for what turns out to be a very triumphant evening.
Ian Kenny is one of the most unlikely frontmen in rock today. Wearing a look that seems to say, “How did I get here and why are all these people watching me?”, the singer shifts from awkward dad dancing to air-punching joy. But what’s clear is just how much he’s enjoying himself. He’s completely lost in the music, even when it’s his bandmates that are taking centrestage and his voice is not required. He just seems to be letting the sound wash over him, as stunned as the rest of us at just how shit hot Karnivool are as a live act.
Shutterspeed tones things down a touch, but its powerful chorus allows Kenny to really show off his vocal chops, while the band are at their technically proficient best. With the opening chord of Themata, the mood in the room noticeably shifts. Glasgow is ready to cut loose, and Karnivool are only too happy to oblige. Taking selfies with some fans and high-fiving others, Kenny is having the time of his life. In what is surely a smaller venue than they’re used to, the band are making the very most of the intimacy.
Goliath is the first track from second album Sound Awake to get an airing, while Deadman and New Day give everyone the chance to catch their breath. But We Are soon has hearts in mouths again. As close to perfect as prog rock gets, it’s a masterpiece both on record and live.
As Aeons brings the curtain down on an unforgettable show, Karnivool seem as reluctant to leave the stage as we are for them to go. Come back any time, mates. Bonza!