Overmono @ SWG3, Glasgow, 13 Oct
As Overmono's tour reaches the doorstep of Glasgow's SWG3, their ambitious sonic landscapes and homage to the UK sound make for an unforgettable night
Overmono’s premiere world tour, which started in the States last month, reaches the doorstep of Glasgow’s monolithic SWG3 tonight, and brothers Tom and Ed Russell make quick work of shepherding the crowds into a trance-like state of mind. Ambitious in sonic landscapes and scope, their set seamlessly weaves between their 2-step dancefloor fillers and other genre-defying sounds, performing with a level of quality and unfettered energy that I have not borne witness to in some time; 90 minutes has truly never felt shorter.
At 32-years-old, I do sometimes wonder if my best raving days are behind me. Thankfully, these very minor reservations pass quickly within the first 15 seconds of Overmono’s performance, whose meteoric rise to world domination has seen them charge through a 2023 of dreams. Their Good Lies LP, released back in May via XL Recordings, perfectly encapsulates the sound they've been honing as a duo since 2015, and some of its meatier tracks find their way onto the setlist on this cold, sub-zero evening in Scotland’s biggest city. However, a highlight of the night is their homage to the UK sound of the past three decades, a sound that has no doubt shaped the brothers into the artists they are today.
Not a single moment of tonight's set could be considered filler, and this is no less evident in early heavy-hitters, Freedom 2 and Blow Out; the former, a collaboration between Joy Orbison and Kwengface, is a standout that sets the tone for the rest of the night, while the choppy, frenetic vocals of Blow Out blare throughout SWG3's Galvanizers space, shaking the building's foundations to its core.
Overmono, whose sound is so distinctly and perfectly British, honour some of the great beats of the last few decades at the mid-point of the evening, and we're treated with a double-bill of Mike Skinner tracks to begin with. Garage and grime are on the menu as the iconic strings of The Streets’ gladiatorial Turn the Page rip through the cavernous space, almost stopping us dead in our tracks. The orchestral, garage-laced anthem from classic 2002 LP Original Pirate Material signals the beginning of their homage to the UK sound, and Skinner’s epic lyrics of soldiers and warfare have never felt so relevant in one of the darkest weeks. Has It Come to This picks up the energy again, immediately followed up with the aggressive drums of Tessela’s legendary 2012 juggernaut Hackney Parrot. And we'd be remiss in not mentioning Ruff Sqwad member XTC’s pioneering instrumental Functions On the Low, popularised by Stormzy in recent years, which also gets an airing.
Of course, Overmono also make sure they give the people what they want, and their set wouldn't have been complete without the impossibly perfect So U Kno, a masterclass in 2-step garage that arguably garners the biggest reaction from the crowd, before rounding out their set with the equally impressive Good Lies.
From experience, live sets don't always hit the mark, and audience expectations can sometimes be hard to meet. But not since witnessing a peak Jamie xx in a sweaty Hackney church nine summers ago has a live set made such an impact on me.