Have A Go Heroes – Spare Snare live

Spare Snare / Post Coal Prom Queen – The Hunter S Thompson, Dundee – Friday 16th September 2022

The best laid plans. Originally intended as a showcase for all the new songs destined for their next Steve Albini produced album, a late case of COVID forced Spare Snare into a late change of plan for Friday night’s set. As a result, only “about 70%” of the new album was played alongside some hits and some deep cuts.

Let’s start with the new tunes. There’s a definite feeling that this is a more accessible set of tunes than of late, yet set opener “Wifi” was an urgent and abrasive statement of intent – in fact it already sounded like it was produced by Albini.

At the other end of the scale “Ring To Me” was the most perhaps instant tune of the new batch while ‘I Have You’ was driven by Barry’s pounding beat.

My first impressions are very positive – it seems like the record should build on the increase in attention that ‘Sounds …’ generated – without sacrificing any of the edge of recent records.

Otherwise, as increasingly seems to be the case, the setlist shone a little light into the dustier corners of the back catalogue. ‘Haircut’ (prefaced by Jan’s shocking confession as to the origin of the title for ‘Love Your Earlier Stuff’) was almost certainly one of the older songs getting a live debut, as probably was ‘Tracked’ which may be the opening song on “I Love You, I Hate You” but I can’t remember hearing it live before.

There was also a healthy representation of the hits (although no ‘Bugs’ or ‘We Are the Snare’) and whilst staples like ‘Smile It’s Sugar’ and ‘As A Matter of Fact’ may be almost pushing thirty now, they sound as fresh as ever.

‘I Am God’ may be of a more recent vintage but its performance confirmed that it deserves to be considered alongside the hits now.

The other notable thing about the show was that it was the first Snare show that Jan didn’t play any guitar at. Certainly in recent years he’s alternated between his roles as front man and singing guitarist but this time the guitar was completely absent.

With a packed room (and stage!) he didn’t have a lot of options as to where he could wander, with any incursion into the audience limited by the wall of bodies a metre from the stage. Even at that, the band conspired to minimise his room to roam during ‘Smile, It’s Sugar’ as Adam managed to create a trip hazard behind the singer when he donned a guitar with a lead stretching across the stage! The song’s chorus was to prove part warning/part prophesy!

Unquestionably, the show was a resounding success both in its stated intention of debuting new songs but also in refreshing the live set. You’ve still just about got time to get to the second in this pair of shows at the Hug and Pint in Glasgow this evening. It’ll be worth it.

Support came from Post Coal Prom Queen. I’ve been aware of them since their earlier incarnation as L-Space but this performance was my first proper exposure to their music.

Starting off firmly in electro-pop territory they veered off in later songs to something more atmospheric. A false start to the opening song may have been frustrating but it also allowed the duo to break the ice with an audience that you’d imagine was almost completely new to them.

By the end of their set the audience (and this writer) was firmly on-board so a good reception from a sell-out crowd undoubtedly constituted a more than satisfactory Dundee debut.

Spare Snare setlist on setlist.fm

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