Anchor Lane’s Conor Gaffney is one of those infectious characters. The type of bloke, even though MV has never met him, you can’t help but warm to.

Let’s be blunt here. The Scottish three piece have just released a wonderful record. It’s everything modern rock n roll, made by young bands should be. But there’s not all that many here in the second city. Sulk? Nah. Not a bit of it. Instead Conor – together with guitarist Lawrence O’Brien and drummer Graeme Newbury – attacks this gig like every other time we’ve seen them. Like it could be their last and it’s the most important they’ve ever played.

The last time they were here, opening for The Virginmarys a couple of miles away in the Autumn, they gave a wonderful performance (as ever) and Gaffney mentioned their new album about five times in the set, the songs they’d played from it were excellent too, and you sensed the band really believed in it.

Now “Call This A Reality” is here. And they’ve backed it up by playing nearly all of it on stage.

“Stutter” which kicks things off was one of the singles they put out before release, and as they play it, and the even better “Ministry” which follows, you can see how much they are together in this.

The title cut of “…Reality?”, and “Honey” from their other record dovetail superbly – and the latter sees Gaffney don his guitar which gives it a heavier edge. Gaffney and O’Brien are bundles of energy, as if they finally feel released.

Maybe there’s some truth in that, because after all they never got to tour their debut “Casino” record (guess why!) and anyway, they are a very different band these days. a little like the aforementioned Virginmarys there’s no bass player anymore and Newbery is new too. It’s interesting to hear the four songs they play from the first album. They are in a “2023” style if you will, and “Blood And Irony” and “Stone Cold Hearted” have a totally different dynamic.

The three seem to be having the time of their lives on stage and “The Mischievous Song” is irresistible, even including a singalong, while “Choke” comes forth as its own, taking on new life here.

“Fame Shame” – the best song on “Casino” is left until late in the set, and if the layout of the room makes encores virtually impossible, then Anchor Lane don’t look like the sort of band to do “rock star” anyway. Instead, relying on their natural charisma to take “Electric Karma,” “Sycophant Disorder” and the natural closing song “I Don’t Have Another Soul To Pour” to take them home.

Ultimately, this is a superb set from a genuinely promising and different band. A proper UK tour too, with loads of dates like there always used to be and there’s still hope that in Anchor Lane we can see a band get the big break to take them from “star quality” to “stardom”. For now though, they are going to wring every last bit of enjoyment out of this, and I guess you can “Call This A Reality?”

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