mon 30/01/2023

Machine Gun Kelly, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - fire and fury from pop punk convert | reviews, news & interviews

Machine Gun Kelly, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - fire and fury from pop punk convert

Machine Gun Kelly, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - fire and fury from pop punk convert

The Texan was on bombastic form, but lacked substance

Machine Gun Kelly was at his best when on the moveMeeno

If ever a moment summed up the spirit of a gig perfectly, then it is the segment in this arena showcase where Machine Gun Kelly is confronted by the internet, represented by what appears to be a blow up statue with a monitor for a head. As it demands the American rap rocker should be pigeonholed into one genre, he strikes on a solution which involves a helicopter flying in to shoot it.

That was a defining trait of this relentlessly bombastic show, of going loud and direct as often as possible.

In reality Colson Baker has avoided damage from internet criticism fairly handily, transitioning from rap to pop punk with such ease that he is now selling out the Hydro in Glasgow. He received an ecstatic response whichever era he dipped into during a set centred around his two most recent albums, with a smattering of older rap tracks on top, and while there was nothing subtle in either song or stage craft, it could be effective. “god save me” spiralled into enjoyable Motley Crue esque guitar histrionics at its climax and the wordplay of “Floor 13” was rapid and sharp, with the singer, clad in a Powerpuff Girls shirt and pink trousers, perched at the top of a multi-layered stage setup.

The best moments ran on energy, with jump-a-long “title track” and the moshable bop of “Emo Girl” earworms perfectly crafted for teenagers to overcome stress by bouncing along to them. They arrived throughout a mid-set run of punky bangers that was the night’s strongest segment because Baker works best when doing something, ideally leaping about or joining his backing band to strike a pose. It makes the most of his charisma when he is in movement, which is slightly ironic given his fondness for weed, a habit he indulged and referenced throughout.

His marijuana references were only matched in ubiquity by the official merchandise bags being carried around by fans, emblazoned with his logo, an aspect that cuts to the core of a problem here. Baker is by no means the only act who does this but there is something off putting about a 30 something turning teenage rebellion into a safe, arena friendly spectacle to view, whether through his more monotonous tunes or a stage show that offered little risk. The by the book nature of “Papercuts” was uninspiring and the three minute sprint of “make up sex” featured the worst excesses of late Nineties pop punk resurrected, and such banality occurred too often during a lengthy near 30 song set.

The most daring moment all night came in a joke about Scots being ahead of the time wearing skirts. His other banter ranged from worthy platitudes about writing from his soul and keeping an open heart, which sweetly struck an empathetic chord with more youthful crowd members, to a comment on the regular “here we, here we” chant where he claimed that it’s “what I say before I f***”.

Megan Fox could not be contacted to confirm if that’s the case, but for her sake hopefully he’s more creative there than the overall stage setting here. The loose theme of internet control provided frustratingly little spectacle beyond the aforementioned helicopter, with the main onstage trick instead reliant on endless pyro. That’s a shame given that Kelly’s personality, and some of the ideas in his songs, could lend themselves to a more dynamic backdrop.

 A quick acoustic medley highlighted he can change things up when he wants to, but the paper thin “my ex’s best friend” and surprisingly unassuming show closer “Twin Flame” petered the night out somewhat. Underneath all that fire, actual substance was sometimes lacking.

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters