Heading into 69 Below, I was struck with a revelation: this was the elusive venue where we ended up at the finale of my stag night. With a sense of foreboding, I descended the stairs and was instantly relieved to discover that it was unrecognisable from that fateful night.

On the bill were five bands and a DJ set by the Coral. I confess, though, that I was only really there for one act: The Aviators.

I first saw the Aviators two years or so ago in the late, lamented Bay in Glasgow. I was struck then by the group’s charm and potential, to say nothing of their precocious talent. Two years on, the East Kilbride four-piece have lost nothing of their charm, and their talent has increased exponentially.

To say that their set was stunning is to do the boys a disservice. Their eight song set of self-penned material was thirty minutes of near perfection. Their set opened with the explosive 'Beatrice' which segued flawlessly into 'Dangerous Game'. Both tracks are upbeat rockers, benefiting from the group’s superb rhythm section of Ewen Cameron (bass) and Steven O’Neill (drums). Vocalist Darren Hutton snarls like a caged Jim Morrison, while Bradley Revil’s guitarwork is exemplary.

I was particularly impressed by the band’s third song of the evening, 'Tell Me'. With a 'We Will Rock You' backbeat, the song pulses and throbs petulantly, while sometime vocalist Bradley sings like a man possessed, freeing up frontman Darren to interact playfully with Steven on the drums. Seeing these boys play, it’s clear that they are having a blast.

The boys debuted their soon to be released first single, 'What Do You Want From Me?' to an ecstatic and enthusiastic crowd. Fusing the best of U2 and a hint of Kings of Leon, it’s a superbly catchy and energetic slice of power pop, surely destined for success.

The boys finished with 'Mr Moonshine', another highlight of a highlight-filled set. Listening to Darren’s vocals, I was reminded of Lennon’s voice-shredding rendition of 'Twist and Shout'. It’s little wonder that they saved this track till last – the average person wouldn’t speak for a week after delivering Hutton’s gutsy vocal, let alone sing.

The Aviators have grown up since I first saw them, but they have lost none of their boyish charm and charisma. Their material and playing has been honed and refined to the point where they are now ready to make the step up to the next level. As exciting young bands go, the Aviators are the best I’ve seen in a long time, and I feel privileged to have seen them before their inevitable career trajectory hurtles them into the big time.


The photographs that accompany this article were taken by John Ritchie.















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Commenting On: 69 Below, Glasgow, 12/10/2013 - Aviators








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21569 Posted By: Thomas Robb (East Kilbride )

The Aviators are a band that by the day get better and better! Being a fan from day one I have had the pleasure to see them mature into future super stars! Every single song written by the band are all great crowd pleasers! Great choruses and great guitar/vocal work! Definitely worth a watch!


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