Having missed them ripping up the stage at Long Division Festival in Wakefield this weekend just gone, it was a treat to catch Glasgow’s MEMES in action a few days later. The gents had added me to the guestlist* and, wow, what a way to spend a Wednesday night…
The duo’s playful style of matter-of-fact, monologue-esque indie-punk had not only earned them their place as The Parrots’ support band this evening and on their current tour, but they’ve previously enjoyed a presence at SXSW, The Great Escape and so many other extraordinary festivals. MEMES’ buoyant, infectious tunes have also garnered them glowing reviews from BBC Radio 1, KEXP and Pitchfork since their formation in 2019. Does it get any cooler? Oh, two of their singles, ‘Heavy Night’ and ‘Second Thought’, were only produced by Darwin Deez… Yeah, they’re a pretty slick outfit to keep tabs on.
While Belgrave was quiet, MEMES brought the noise in spades. They swooped onto the stage as a two-piece playing over drum tracks. The uptempo beats set the tone for the exceptional synergy between bass and lead guitar, and there was a furious, frenzied demonstration of proper riff wizardry. Their set also ended with a more particularly charged piece, uttered while pacing around the room. And it adequately geared up the emerging bodies entering the venue for Madrid’s The Parrots…
There’s a jangly, sunshine-holiday quality to the band. Although we’re used to just seeing two faces on their posters and socials, they assumed the stage as a four and each member took full responsibility of delivering summer on steroids, in musical form. It was an endless siesta of pure rock and roll that The Beach Boys would’ve been proud of — though with their own fully unique stamp and lyrics in mostly Spanish.
The Parrots could never be described as anything short of lively. Their tracks are funky, punky and fresh, and each one sparked more and more joy among the crowd as the night went on. As instruments were swapped, their drummer faultlessly thumped away in a cool-as-anything fashion, and both lead and backing vocals were roared charismatically, too.
I’m a big fan of ‘Maldito’, but it was the engaging performances of feisty ‘Fuego’ and the raucous ‘You Work All Day And Then You Die’ that especially got my vote in person. Their live conduct is so enthralling to watch and there’s such theatre to it, which actually raises the outfit’s studio game up a notch in person. Their vocalist got right off stage and onto the floor — literally lying down at one point — to royally send it off. What a weeknight!
*Press access with thanks to MEMES