The legendary Australian group treats Scottish fans to a very intimate show.
"Hello, we're…well, we're fucking jetlagged," announced Tom Ellard in his affable drawl. Grinning from beneath a souvenir cap from Sydney's historic Luna Park, his quips peppered the fast-moving set. "We're running through them quick tonight, lots of value for money," he deadpanned, as the throbbing beats of "4.W.D." faded out. This undercurrent of gentle humour stole the show, which is perhaps unsurprising from a group who initially called themselves Mr And Mrs No Smokin' Sign.
Over the years, Severed Heads have operated with Ellard at the helm of a rotating lineup. Tonight he was joined by Stewart Lawler on synths. A packed room—mostly older men in Severed Heads T-shirts, alongside 20-somethings clad head to toe in black—responded gleefully to each and every note, revving the duo along. The showstopper was a fresh version of 1984's "Dead Eyes Opened," which the pair performed accompanied by a new video pulsating on a projector screen. Four decades on, Severed Heads are still innovating.
Ellard and Lawler were tucked tightly behind a black desk cluttered with laptops and synthesizers. People pressed right up to the stage as they danced in the tiny basement space. After the show, the two performers shook hands with members of the audience and posed for photos. Halfway through the performance, Lawler paused to turn his own phone on the crowd, capturing the many cheering faces.
There were a few small imperfections: the pair faced minor sound issues and Ellard's vocals occasionally fell flat. Still, the performance was an invigorating run-through of an expansive back catalogue, a testament to Severed Heads's sharp pop sensibilities and captivating weirdness. Each song was enhanced by the psychedelic videos that Ellard has lovingly updated and uploaded online in recent years. A dynamic encore of "Petrol" softened the sting that drew the show to a close. "This will be our last tour," said Ellard as he and Lawler bid the room farewell.