Catholic Action @ King Tut's, 25 Sep

Live Review by Claire Francis | 04 Oct 2016

If you thought there was no place for 70s glam rock in 2016, Catholic Action are here to prove you wrong. The Glaswegian four-piece, fronted by the long-locked Chris McCrory, may have left the eye-makeup and sequinned outfits at home, but their King Tut's headline show is a class display of finely-crafted pop melodies with enough rock grunt to steer things well clear of mere revivalist territory.

The group are supported tonight by post-punk trio Ace City Racers and fellow Glaswegian outfit The Pooches, who recently released their self-titled debut with McCrory on production duties. Rounding out a bouncy set reminiscent of Weezer, Pooches show their thanks to the Catholic Action frontman with a jaunty cover of The Cascade's Rhythm Of The Rain.

Not only a talented producer and multi-instrumentalist (he pulls double duty as the drummer for Casual Sex) McCrory proves an assured and engaging frontman, ever ready with a quick one-liner. There’s an early between-song pause to clear an errant wire that has become loose and dangles precariously close to the singer's head, prompting him to quip, “You could have hung me if you thought we were shite.”

That won't be necessary, though – the hour-long cavort through warbling guitar solos, perfectly in-sync backing harmonies and power-charged riffs is a guilt-free delight. McCrory encourages everyone to gather closer and move into “the splash zone” before the group launch into loping new single Breakfast.

B-side and indie-pop gem Rita Ora has all the hallmarks of a commercial hit, but it’s not even their best work – and therein lies the compliment. Catholic Action have struck a winning balance between candied melodies and rock'n'roll euphoria, and tonight it's a polished, giddying performance of the kind you’d expect from a band twice as seasoned.