I was told that Loop was quite a popular band in the alternative/indie music scene in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Unfortunately, this completely passed me by. In 1987 when Loop released their debut album Heaven’s End, I was listening to nothing else than Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, released earlier in that same year. This then gradually turned me into a teenage metalhead listening to nothing but metal. I basically missed the whole phenomenon Loop when they were actively building on their musical career. And I admit I still haven’t listened to much of their back catalogue till this day. However, when the reformation of Loop was announced with a short UK tour of smaller venues and the Liquid Room in Edinburgh was one of these venues, I actually couldn’t wait to see them and to find out what a lot of my friends were talking about. I basically had no clue what to expect.
To warm up the audience, consisting of a good number of 'older' people, The KVB was on first. This band from London consists of Nicholas Wood on guitar and vocals and Kat Day on synthesisers, drum programming, and heavy synthesiser bass. The KVB was another band I wasn’t very familiar with, but their mix of post-punk, alternative noise rock, electro and dark/new wave was very good and very catchy. Their songs varied form more Sonic Youth inspired guitar noise to the almost heavy club stompers when Kat threw some real heavy bass lines and drum beats out of her synthesisers. Their last song 'Lines' was so bass heavy that it made my insides rumble and I know I won't have to get checked for kidney stones anytime soon. Unfortunately Nicholas’ vocals weren’t very loud and they got lost in the wall of sound at times. But they provided a very entertaining 30 minutes of music, playing songs from Always Then, Immaterial Visions and latest release Minus One. Definitely a duo to keep your eyes on, as they will get somewhere.
After the short changeover it was time for Loop, the band the crowd was waiting for. Under loud applause they got on stage and after Robert Hampson thanked ‘Glasgow’ (surely a joke?) for coming out they started with ‘Soundhead’ of Heaven’s End. This was only the third show since they had their comeback ATP End of An Era (Part 2) festival appearance, but it was clear how much they appreciated being back, playing with enthusiasm and concentration.
Loop played a varied set with songs from all albums and EPs. ‘Straight To Your Heart’, ‘Too Real To Feel’ and ‘Fix To Feel’ from Heaven’s End, ‘Fade Out’ and ‘Fever Knife’ from Fade Out, ‘The Nail Will Burn’,‘Breathe Into Me’ and ‘Afterglow’ from A Gilded Eternity, ‘Collision’ from the Collision EP, ‘Arc-Lite’ from the Arc-Lite EP and they finished their set with a long version of ‘Burning World’.
They sounded very fresh and eager and they played a very tight set and the crowd was visually happy and entertained with various people dancing and jumping up and down when his or her favourite song was played. Whilst not being very familiar with the repertoire, I was very impressed. The sound was loud but not too loud and what I heard was very beefy and very psychedelic and hypnotic. Guitarist Scott Dowson looked like the most patient guitar player in the world, mostly playing just the one chord, or a minimum amount of chords, creating this very drone guitar sound, while bass player Neil MacKay played hypnotically and repetitively over John Wills’ loud drumming. I’m already diving into their back catalogue as I’m writing this, listening to my vinyl copy of A Gilded Eternity that I bought at the gig.
With his final words before leaving the stage Robert Hampson thanked ‘Glasgow’ for having them, making me think he wasn’t actually joking unfortunately.