Gig review: Tuff Love - Nice ‘N’ Sleazy, Glasgow

IT’S not unusual for any show curated by Johnny Lynch’s Eigg-based Lost Map record label to do good business in Scotland, such is the strong reputation the artist otherwise known as Pictish Trail has built.

Tuff Love band members Julie Eisenstein and Susan Bear. Picture: Graeme Robertson

Tuff Love

Nice ‘N’ Sleazy, Glasgow

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Yet around Tuff Love, one of the more recent among his stable of locally-sourced signings, the atmosphere is subtly different. For the first time, it feels as if he may have a genuine crossover success on his hands. The basement venue in Sauchiehall Street bar Nice ‘n’ Sleazy counts as one of those “humble beginnings” kind of locations on which it’s rewarding to look back when seeing a good band march on to larger environments.

As busy as it was here, it made it hard to see the band from the back of the room, although the guitar-wielding front duo of Julie Eisenstein and Suze Bear (and their male drummer) are studiously nondescript in much the same manner as most of the late-80s indie and grunge bands from whom they take inspiration. Even amidst a short set culled from just a pair of EPs (the latest, Dross, launched here), however, their sheer quality shone through, not least because each song is a fuzzy indie-pop classic of a standard which other bands might attempt to build a career on.

Their finest appeared last, ringing around this small space, from the foggy Sonic Youth chime of Sweet Discontent to That’s Right’s ebullient Riot Grrrl-meets-Vaselines clatter and Slammer’s infectiously frosty declaration that “I got rage”.