Gig review: Monochrome Set, Glasgow

The Monochrome Set has been switched off for much of the past 20 years but this cult art pop band from London have resumed normal service in the past couple of years – or as normal as it gets when the lead singer has suffered an aneurysm.

Monochrome Set: Pretty pensive performance. Picture: Contributed
Monochrome Set: Pretty pensive performance. Picture: Contributed

Monochrome Set - Mono, Glasgow

* * *

Rather than allowing his condition to hinder their reunion, frontman Bid has found that the songs have flowed more freely since his stroke, and two albums of new material have been dispatched in swift succession, largely inspired by this unexpected source of creative fertility.

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There was ample room in this set for cherished old favourites, however, kicking off with the strident jangle and urgent rockabilly rhythms of their theme tune, The Monochrome Set, and the following Jet Set Junta, the biggest hit of their avowedly independent career.

There was a certain rough-and-ready DIY charge to these older tunes, in contrast to the more whimsical psychedelic and beat pop strains of their new material, though Bid’s characterful melodies and the snake-hipped surf guitar flourishes provided by Lester Square in his natty Testcard-inspired jacket were a consistent feature.

The vibrant Jacob’s Ladder aside, this was a pretty pensive performance which did not always exploit the natural swagger of the songs, but it was still possible to appreciate why Alex Kapranos has cited this band as an influence on Franz Ferdinand for the pleasing quirkiness of their pop chops.