You’d think we’d have all had enough of bugs by now, but Welsh trio The Bug Club are becoming as unshakeable as a plague of midges in their swift rise to prominence.

The band have been championed by BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley, who last year said of tonight’s penultimate number We Don’t Need Room For Lovin, “It’s ACE…. It’s bloody brilliant”. Well, only a fool would argue with the legend that is Mr Riley, but then again, even a fool can sing along to their alphabet of lyrics which feature in the two minute track.

Tonight The Bug Club play Glasgow’s Mono, supporting Bodega, Brooklyn’s punchy post-punk-rap quintet, who they compliment perfectly with their sardonic spoken word and melodic garage pop-rock. 

They fly through an infectious set of snappy numbers, starting with The Word of God, the 30 second opener from last year’s debut album Pure Particles, which they pretty much play in full tonight. 

Vocalist and guitarist Sam Willmett was earlier spotted loitering around the merch stand, featuring their dandy duster-yellow t-shirt emblazoned with ‘The Bug Club played 1000 gigs and I was there’, a number which might not be so ridiculous as their popularity picks up pace. Tonight he dons a Bingo Records t-shirt while vocalist and bassist Tilly Harris rocks the double denim look and has a definite Suzi Quatro vibe going on in her demi-wave. Drummer Dan Matthew is also wearing clothes but I’m not sure what they are, nevertheless he’s a dashing, bashing, bundle of smiles. 

The stage is uncluttered, the sound a raw, unimposing antithesis of the elaborate and egoistic rock band, but don’t get me wrong, they can still make a beast of a noise. Their music harks back to Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers’, with echoes of the Violent Femmes and The Kinks. Abundant in witty storytelling which is blurted out to catchy tunes, their lyrics take a wry look at the mundanities of everyday life. 

They shine on the jive-invoking My Baby Loves Rock & Roll Music, while fan favourite The Fixer explodes with a rollercoaster of a cartoon riff, a bit like a fusion of The Wonderstuff’s It’s Yer Money I’m After Baby and The Surfaris’ Wipeout. Meanwhile the chorus ‘Well, if the fixer can’t fix ya / then the medicine will’ sticks like Labrador hair on clean white shirt, just superb! Tilly brims with irresistible charm as she performs a sequence of facial gymnastic moves like she’s trying to liberate a Curly Wurly from her teeth. She swings the giraffe-like neck of her bass about the stage, nearly taking out Sam a couple of times, but their stage chemistry is so solid, I reckon he’d forgive her. In Checkmate, their bouncing, bluesy duet sees Tilly rock her duck walk like Angus Young while Sam’s nimble fingers thrash out a monumental outro solo.

Tonight’s performance is as tight as a yoga pant as the pace shifts for All Of The Scariest Monsters Live In London, a low-key number contemplating our island’s hotbed of rule amongst other terrifying things, while Launching Moondream One, title track from the 2021 EP, is just pure Kinks. The dispirited but deadpan musings in If My Mother Thinks I’m Happy raise a grin ‘And even though I made it up / I quite like the feeling of being loved / By a civil servant with a paper cup’, the more upbeat duet of the chorus clashing against this building picture of gloom.

Tilly looks like she might knock the living daylights out of Sam again, this time with her cheek-bursting grin, as she gushes about how their latest single, Intelectuals, has been selected for 6 Music’s playlist this week. The track’s contagious chorus ‘Our pretty music, is quite amusing to the, the intelectuals, the intelectuals’ crawls into your ears and doesn’t budge, as they poke fun at those who seek a deeper meaning in their playful lyrics. And yes, that’s a clever typo in the title, smarty pants that they are!  

They complete the set with a rollicking performance of the unabashed A Love Song,  which they rattle through at breakneck speed. This number has a humorous dig at Bob Dylan while asking how many times you can say f*** in a love song. The answer, my friend, isn’t blowin’ in the wind but rather nine, which is quite a lot when you consider that the song comes in at just over one minute long, cheeky wee mites. 

The set is a quick-fire, no-frills triumph. If you fancy listening to their pretty music, they’re touring with The Lovely Eggs during April and have numerous other dates planned around the country this year. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a Sharpie and start tallying up those Bug Club gigs on the back of that smashing new t-shirt! 

Check out our review of The Bug Club at Edinburgh’s Hidden Door Festival, June 2022 >>

Bodega at Mono >>

Words: Shirley Mack @musingsbymarie
Pictures: Calum Mackintosh @ayecandyphotography