Counterfeit - King Tut's, Glasgow, 19/04/16 1

Counterfeit – King Tut’s, Glasgow, 19/04/16

The crowd are not quite wild by the time Counterfeit take to the stage, but it slowly gets wilder as the seconds go by, aided and abetted by opening with ‘Hold Fire’.  They’re not even half-way through the song when lead guitarist and vocalist Jamie Bower vaults the barrier, picks his way through the madness below and up onto the bannister at the back of the venue, still with mic in hand.  It doesn’t take much to unleash the Mother within me and suddenly I’m worried that people will end up accidentally garrotted.  Counterfeit certainly know how to make an entrance, that’s for sure!  By their second track, ‘For The Thrill Of It’, the crowd are lively, but given their usual standard – and upholding the notion that Scottish crowds are the rowdiest – this seems rather tame in comparison.  There’s still time, though. What’s remarkable is how Bower has the audience eating out of his hands.

Asking “who’s drunk?” brings up barely a handful of waving arms.  I can only imagine that people are either making sure they don’t miss anything or they’re simply taking it easy and intend to be fully wasted by the end of the night.  And now I think I know why Bower performs topless – the energy hasn’t let up at all and by now he’s sweating like there’s no tomorrow.

Counterfeit 001Tonight is their first ever gig in Scotland, and I’m certain it’ll be one that everyone will remember for a long time.  Announcing that “I feel like I’m about to throw up,” brings a mixed reaction from the audience – some, no doubt silently begging for him not to vomit, the rest perhaps thinking it might be cool if he did.  It’s obviously entertaining to witness, but the other remarkable thing about them is that whilst they make music that’s primarily punk in nature, you can actually dance to it and have a bloody great time of it.

Half-way through their frankly electrified set, Bower once again climbs over the barrier, hoists over the mic stand and his guitar, and makes his way through to the very centre of the crowd, and calls for silence.  ‘Letter To The Lost’ – a song written about a friend who had taken his own life is the single sweet moment of the entire show.  Bower has, he says, been working with CALM, the UK charity aimed at tackling male suicide – the single biggest cause of death among men under the age of 45.  “If you know some who is suffering, there is help,” Bower says, before playing the most stripped back, stunning, poignant and beautiful moment of the whole evening.  It’s a little dirge-like to begin with before it switches up a gear and it becomes something else entirely, something explosive, and takes on a Nirvana-like quality.  Whether this is intentional or not is unclear, but given the subject matter, it adds all the more to the urgency and poignancy of the song itself, closing on the same stripped back notes and chords as its beginning.

‘Family Suicide’ is jarring paired next to ‘Letter To The Lost’ with Bower instructing “let’s get punky again,” and then it’s back to the loud, the brash and the abrasive.  It seems that this time, Bower is channelling Sid Vicious – and I’d like to think Vicious himself would be proud.  ‘Come Get Some’ sees the venue lit up brighter than ever before.  It’s loud, shouty, ballsy and, quite honestly, brilliant; the audience definitely proving that Scottish crowds are the best crowds.  The only minor downside is during ‘Addiction’ – an obvious future single track for Counterfeit – where the crowd should be leaping around and bouncing off the walls.

Closing the night in style in the form of encore track and recent single ‘Enough’, after lightheartedly telling the crowd to “shut the fuck up!”.  It begins in a very similar fashion to Marilyn Manson’s ‘Fight Song’, and Bower is once again in the middle of the crowd, whipping them up into a sweaty, fun and perhaps a little dangerous frenzy, melting into it almost to the point of obscurity.  Counterfeit are very easily one of the nicest, best and super exciting bands to have emerged in recent times, and putting on what is quite possibly the best gig I’ve ever seen.


Photo credit:  Clare Ballott

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