Heights w/ Echoes, Swallows and Flakes at Classic Grand, Glasgow, 4/10/14

Heights are dead.  Not in the sense that Alex Monty and co have actually keeled over and slipped off their mortal coil, but in the sense that the band are saying goodbye.  Anyone who has paid attention to my blogs for the last few years, will be well aware that I have a great deal of affection for this band.  In a UK where there are more hardcore bands than ever before, they stood out as something a bit special and I am genuinely gutted to see them go.  However, the opportunity to go and see them live one last time – they played their last ever show in London last night and were in Glasgow on Saturday – was something I wasn’t going to miss.

Before Heights took their final bow however, we have Flakes, a Glaswegian melodic-hardcore band, that remind me of Touche Amore.  I have to admit I was a bit late in – as I thought it started at 7, rather than half 6 – but what I catch is impressive enough.  They have a few technical issues, with strings snapping on guitars and have been pulled in at the last minute, so it does feel a bit ramshackle, but if you are into that kind of music, I would check them out here, as they are obviously early into a career that has a lot of potential.

Up next are Swallows, who instantly feel like a more complete proposition.  Their another Glaswegian band and they rip through their short set with abandon.  The lead singer is literally hanging from the rafters at one point and their, again, melodic hardcore, has just the right mix of balls and melody to really stand out.  These guys seriously impressed me and you should check them out here.  I imagine I shall be saying a bit more about them further down the line.

The final support band is Echoes, who bring an element of the progressive to proceedings.  Their expansive post-hardcore is the most technical music on display, but, possibly because of that, it is a bit harder to throw yourself into, compared to what has come before.  Echoes are obviously good and they come across as a band ready to make the step up, but they are going to require a couple more looks before I can say I am truly on board.  Even so, I would still recommend checking them out here.

Yet all of this pales compared to what comes at the end.  When Heights hit the stage, chaos reigns and you get a blast of just how good these guys could have been.  A thunderous “Dead Streets” opens things up and from that point on Heights hit every note you want them too.  It’s been a constant annoyance to me that this band have never quite hit a sweet spot in Glasgow, mainly down to the crowds they have played to rather than themselves.  When I’ve seen them here in the past, once on a package tour with Steak Number EightsHeart of a Coward and Devil Sold His Soul and once on their own tour with Black Dogs and Catharsis, they have played to either small crowds or crowds that have failed to get on board  Yet tonight, things just seem to click and it very much gives the impression Glasgow has finally got the Heights bug, sadly, it comes just as they head out.

Thankfully that does not stop tonight being special.  Alex Monty spends nearly his entire time in the crowd and there are moments, particularly during a thunderous “Dead Ends”, when the mic isn’t even in his hands and is instead being passed around.  This is one of these shows where the stage stops being a stage and instead becomes something for everyone to jump off of and when they close with “The Lost and Alone” there is a sad moment, as people realise this is the end.

There is something gutting about Heights being this good, right at the end of their career, but on the other hand it feels like the right way for this band to go out.  Heights released two awesome albums and while it’s sad to see them go, the fact they have done it in such explosive fashion, at least insures their legacy will stick around for a while yet.

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