Room 2, Glasgow
Dip into the weird and wonderful world of Ian Svenonius at any given time and there will be a number of left-field entertainments to choose from. His cult Washington D.C. post-hardcore band Nation of Ulysses were not long for this world, disbanding back in 1992. Since then he and his comrades have charmed the cognoscenti with such impeccably conceived outfits as Weird War, Chain and the Gang and Escape-ism.
But The Make-Up is arguably his most enduring creation, presenting as a slick, groovy and glamorous funk revue band – visions in matching bronze lame for this outing- while frequenting scuzzy basement dives such as this club in Glasgow with, crucially, a ceiling low enough for Svenonius to grab on his frequent and fearless forays into the crowd, born aloft on the shoulders of his delighted acolytes, with his suit seams and a fluorescent light tube among the casualties.
He may be bold – even slightly reckless – but he is caring. With the help of audience members, he was able to reach up and fix what he broke – a fortuitous metaphor for the Make-Up message, positing smart solutions for broken institutions.
Svenonius is a James Brown/Prince-inspired showman, a natural testifier who has slightly cut back on the signature socio-satirical monologues and political shaggy dog discourse, though he did ruminate briefly on the death of the Queen and Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone.
When extempore words failed him, he resorted to Syd Barrett-style deranged whoops with brooding psychedelic organ accompaniment from James Canty, and introduced sharp garage punk songs on bite-sized socio-political concepts.
The funk was never too far away thanks to impeccable bassist Michelle Mae, but always intersecting gleefully with punk pithiness and thought-provoking humour to generate some joyful moshpit madness in an audience stoked for more.