A mass of contradictions - loose yet well-honed, rebellious but polite, intense although flippant - Ought will keep you guessing.
Walking down the stairs to Broadcast in Glasgow's basement level is like crawling into a bunker - a crawlspace that not everyone knows about. The low ceiling will serve to compress the noise. The environment suits the band well, with scuffed dark walls, sticky floor and the smell of stale beer. Decorated with smudged neon marker pen on the back of hands to prove paid admittance, music hungry revelers converge in the claustrophobic space and wait for something to happen. The gig has the air of being casually arranged and held together with a mixture of duct-tape and passion.
Tonight (22 April) begins with a somewhat off key request, as we are apologetically asked to move a little closer to the stage, to allow space at the bar and exit at the rear of the room. Apparently, venue staff requested this announcement from Tim Darcy and it seems he is too polite to refuse. It may seem inconsequential but such a health and safety request seems out of place with the ethos of Ought. Regardless, there's enough respect in the room for the band, for us to comply and we all take one giant leap forward, hoping that it will satisfy the powers that be and allow the show to start.
From here begins a trance inducing set from the Canadians - a fixed grove lands and never lets up for the duration. It's true there aren't too many focal points in Oughts sound - no crescendos or hooky moments. Instead Ought are progressive, unobvious and ask their listeners to come and meet them half way. It seems that this elusive style is what draws their fans closer. I am surrounded by musos with little care for try-hard bands, their big record deals and music industry bores - and they are all nodding in unison. All this said but no mistake, Ought are not an aloof, inconsiderate band - one of the finest moments of the evening is when Darcy enquires with us "how's the job? how's the family?".
Are Ought destined to remain that kind of band with a small but intense following? Darcy asks us if anyone was in attendance during their last visit to Glasgow. There's a pocket of folk, front and centre who indicate passionately that they were - and I dare estimate they'll be there next time too. There's also those of us who are newly converted too, for Ought are the kind of word-of-mouth band whose reputation growth is both steady and unstoppable. They'll likely become a huge cult band - aptly, another of Ought's contradictions in terms.