Bellow Below – Bar Bloc, Glasgow – 6/7/11

Posted: 12/07/2011 in Local Music
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Bellow Below is a name you’re going to see on a lot of Glasgow gig bills in the coming months. Whether or not it will be spelt properly is a different matter and one which is already becoming a source of humour amongst their fans and exasperation amongst their members.

The band were recently handed a last minute slot opening for Salò in Bar Bloc and, in support of the feature you’re now reading, guitarist/vocalist Richard took the time to answer a few questions…

Can you give us a brief history of Bellow Below?

“We’ve been a band for about a year now. All of us were in a band called Oslow before but then our guitarist/vocalist left and we decided to continue with a different name.”

What has been the defining point for you, as a band, so far?

“For me, the definining point was when we played with Tera Melos, who are absolute heroes of mine. I don’t really want to speak on behalf of the others but I think that’s maybe unanimous. We got to see them play in Scotland for the first time ever at their soundcheck.”

What can we expect from you guys in the near future?

“At the moment we are getting ready to record our first EP and we’re also busy writing new stuff. I don’t really know if we have a set direction but we are always trying to improve as musicians and songwriters as a group. We also like to go over stuff we’ve already written and make it better if we can.”

Bellow Below has the floor. Tell the world what you want them to hear…

“Coffee is for closers only.”


Arriving at Bar Bloc in time to catch the guys preparing for their performance, focus goes first to the stage set-up. The front line sees Richard and Jamie manning their own microphone and guitar at each side and bassist Darren between them, with Joseph on the drums at his back. Due mainly to this dual vocal approach, such a layout seems to give the band a self-assured presence and suggests that a powerful performance lies ahead.

Bellow Below are a band with a strikingly long and diverse list of influences and this is evident in their appearance as well as their performance. Richard and Jamie seem an especially strange partnership, with Richard’s guitar-held-high stance and indie charm standing in stark contrast to Jamie’s long hair, sleeveless shirt and crazed look that permeates the band’s more aggressive onstage moments. Nonetheless, as tonight’s performance will go on to illustrate, it’s a partnership that works well.

The simple words “Hello! We’re Bellow Below!” herald the beginning of the evening’s performance, before those assembled are led swiftly into what turns out to be a false start.

Fortunately, the band are unphased by this, regrouping quickly and leading the audience straight down a path of searing vocals, crashing drums and flailing time signatures.

The room remains a collection of expectant faces until a clever stop/start segment midway through the first song draws the front few rows in and sets them in enthusiastic motion. From this moment onwards, a quick scan of the room reveals the fairly sizeable crowd that has materialised for the quartet, which is impressive considering the eleventh hour nature of their appearance.

The short space of time between the first two songs is astutely utilised to direct all present towards the location of two free downloadable tracks and then it’s straight back to business.

Taking further stock of the performance during this second offering, it becomes apparent that there is an accomplished atmospheric thread running through the band’s material, working as an effective backdrop for the heavier segments.

This careful balance is furthered by the the vocals, which range from the carefree and clean to the anguished howl, by way of a few well-placed “woah-oh” moments. It is Bellow Below’s skilled use of this variation that renders them able to lull their audience into an almost trance-like state with the mellower moments before picking up the pace and aggression and snapping them abruptly back to life, keeping them on a tight leash for as long as they have the stage.

Without explicitly drawing the Biffy Clyro parallel, it would be fair to say that the boys have captured that distinctive West of Scotland sound, style and flair that the music world is currently going mad for.

However, while this is a tried and tested formula which is obviously working for the band on a personal level, it does give rise to the concern that it may prove difficult for them to set themselves apart from the plethora of other acts adhering to the very same formula.

The best thing Bellow Below can do to draw away from the pack is to continue to embrace their wide array of varying influences and strive to showcase this diversity in their own musical output. Talent and confidence have come as no problem to this band. The only hurdle left to overcome is to further develop their sound, until it is distinctively theirs.

This doesn’t take away from the fact that tonight’s audience experienced an excellent performance from musicians who, as a result of their time spent in other bands, already have a dedicated following. Their stage presence is considered and effective and, as Richard’s own words suggest, they seem determined to make sure everything they’re doing counts and is done to the best of their collective ability.

It is easy, then, to understand their consternation at having their name frequently misspelled, given how strikingly evocative the Bellow Below moniker is of the impression the band delivers in a live setting. Their quiet confidence and onstage presence point to the band’s knowledge of their enormous potential lurking just below the surface.

Just make sure you’re there when that Bellow emerges, eh?

Bellow Below on Facebook

Two free downloadable tracks

  1. […] Bellow Below – Bar Bloc, Glasgow – 6/7/11 […]

  2. […] last Bellow Below graced these pages, ample amusement was derived from the, at the time constant, misspelling of their […]

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