The bar is fairly crowded for a Tuesday night when I first arrive at Broadcast in Glasgow. Almost immediately, a woman promoting Catholic Action hands me a free CD and pin. I get my drink and take a seat, waiting for the doors to open. It is past both of the advertised times when the doors finally open and we are let downstairs.
In a basement venue, the crowd waits for Catholic Action to take the stage. The crowd is uncharacteristically large for an opening band. Catholic Action is touring for their brand new album In Memory Of. Only weeks old, this album has threads of modern alternative music, but also something tantalizingly reminiscent of classic rock.
The band quickly enters the stage and kicks off the show. Instantly, their sound is loud and full of bass and drums. The vocals come through clear and well complimented by the music. Having only listened to the album, it is not until they announced their name a few songs into the show that I believed it was Catholic Action on stage. Where their album is radio ready, mixed and mastered with effects to create the more alternative sound, their live show sounds more like it has emerged from a garage. This unexpected sound is incredible. All of the aspects of the album that make you want to listen more are amplified when live. The alternative sound is dropped for a classic rock infused, punk vibe.
It is obvious that the majority of the crowd has come to see Catholic Action. People are doing everything from calmly standing, to bobbing along, to full out dancing. After each song there is an eruption of cheers. A photographer circles the band, letting off a strobe light like effect with their flash. Expecting to see the stiff show of a new band, I am pleasantly surprised to be at a rowdy show of a band that has obviously accumulated a following. It could not have hurt that I was seeing them in their hometown.
The band plays the songs off their new album, also throwing in some unreleased tracks. Then they go into one of their singles, ‘Black & White’. While listening to the album this song caught my attention but when played live it was overshadowed by the other songs of the night.
Catholic Action announces they are going to play their only slow song of the night. This song is not so much slow as it is just quieter than the others. In that light, it is still not very quiet. The band takes an purposefully long pause in the middle of the song. It is just long enough that the crowd seems unsure to respond. Then in unison the song kicks off again.
When Catholic Action informs us it is their last song, I realize how quick the set has passed. The band’s sound had me enthralled and I could have listened for much longer. A few people in the crowd open up a mosh. The set ends on a high note.