The Duchess on a Friday night is usually the reserve of hordes of students waiting eagerly to get in for Phat Fridays. Therefore it was a surreal experience walking straight through the doors in order to see up and coming Glaswegian band Holy Esque.
Support came from Yorkshire band, Maven Fiction, whose unassuming stage manner did little to levitate their plodding British brand of indie rock. One saving grace was the moments of foals-esque beauty pervading certain moments through their set that suggest a band unsure of a direction but with much potential if they do, in the end, find their path.
Holy Esque walked on to the stage a little before ten to the sound of bellowing drenching feedback. The epic majesty of their entrance pervaded through their set as they proceeded to blister through an absolutely mesmeric ten song set. Immediate points of reference to their sound would be British 2000’s post-punk stalwarts Editors and White Lies along with New York bands Interpol and Secret Machines. The lyrics pertain to Depeche Mode’s knack of existential romanticism – “Echoed love at the funeral. Death lives in these black shawls”.
The swirling synths during ‘Hexx’ encased Pat Hynes raptured, hoarse growls. All eyes were on the charismatic singer/frontman whose vocals evoke the memory of Wu Lyf’s Elley Roberts’ similar rasping growling. However Hynes stage manner is more akin to a Deep South Methodist preacher as his eyes roll into the back of his head while ambient lights and dry ice backdrop the grand splendour of the bands music. ‘Thorens’ showcased Holy Esque’s stadium potential as power chords chime around the cavernous Duchess.
The synths in ‘Doll House’ are a more hypnotic, eerie affair conjuring up childhood memories at the local fairground. ‘Sovereign’ is set alight once again by Hynes impassioned vocals, as he wails “Just set me free” like the preacher healing a member of his congregation.
Set closer ‘At Hope’s Ravine’ is a slow burner that slowly evolves into an eruption of blood rushing riffing until its awe inspiring crescendo.
The only disappointment was the size of the crowd, which barely covered a quarter of the venues floor space. I caught up with lead singer Hynes after the gig, who modestly admitted that the bands only ambition was to play twice as many gigs in the next year as they had done in the previous. Such humility contrasts with their bombastic, compelling sound. This is a band that deserves to be big, deserves to play stadiums and deserves to play to larger, more rapturous crowds then the small number of locals that witnessed their resplendence tonight.