King Tut’s on Glasgow’s St. Vincent Street was last night transformed into an intimate garage in litle Lititz, Philadelphia as young twentysomething’s The Districts delivered a scuzzy and muscular set which at times felt like a coming of age.
Since they first played the city at last May’s Stag & Dagger, The Districts have been forced to replace their guitarist after Mark Larson decided to pursue an education rather than travel the road with a band, and this year they released their debut full-length album A Flourish and A Spoil. In contrast to that sparsely attended show at Broadcast, King Tut’s was packed out – The Districts are very much a word of mouth band, and thanks to exposure from BBC 6 Music the word is clearly spreading.
There are still some rough edges to their sound, and the lengthy tuning sessions and ambient washes between songs are something that will have to be smoothed out, but that doesn’t detract from the phenomenal sound they generate. This was rock and roll in its most primal, youthful form. Sweaty and energetic.
Lead guitarist and vocalist Rob Grote has a compelling stage presence, while his distinctive voice lends to the sound they’re curating. This is best showcased on Funeral Beds, the song which already looks like it is going to define this band. Originating from their early self-titled EP, this is the song the entire audience knows and had been waiting for. There’s the harmonica with echoes of Springsteen or Young, the heartbeat of Braden Lawrence’s drumming throughout and the galloping climax it builds to.
4th and Roebling, the opening track from A Flourish and A Spoil, is a made for radio rocker which firmly has its roots in the bands of the early 00′s these guys grew up on. The night ends on Young Blood, the 9-minute standout from the album, and it translates powerfully onto the stage. It is dramatic and dynamic, loud and punchy. The song has multiple layers, unravelling another just as you think it is coming to an end. It is the highlight of the set and a future rock classic.
This was garage rock brought to life on a grand scale. There are stilll improvements to be made, but once they are made and the word of mouth continues to spread The Districts are capable of going a long way