It’s a cool Thursday evening; you’re in a warm pub in the West End of Glasgow; there’s a delicious scent of curry wafting in from the kitchen, the promise of Friday is fueling your spirits.  It’s got all the pieces of a great 4-star evening. Only one thing could make it 5: Ciel. 

Returning once more to the welcoming Hug and Pint, Ciel dominate the stage with the confidence of a band playing in the comfort of their own home. Following the energising performance of vibrant support band Day Sleeper, Ciel are greeted by an amped-up crowd raring to keep their momentum going. A feat the band easily achieve and then some. 

Against a backdrop of eerie stage effects, including vibrant purple lighting and gloomy fog, Ciel make the room feel like a sultry vampire film, creating the ideal atmosphere for their range of mysterious and angsty songs. This entrancing ambiance is further enhanced by the commitment of each band member to their aesthetic. Following the departure of the band’s guitarist, Jorge Bela Jimenez, Ciel are joined by guitarist Ruby Taylor, who fits so seamlessly into the band that you’d be forgiven for assuming she’d been with them the whole time. Drummer Tim Spencer delivers on every beat with the powerful swing of a professional baseball player. Meanwhile, front woman Michelle Hindriks is effortlessly cool throughout the performance, dressed elegantly in gothic chic, and utilising her short hair so theatrically it leaves everyone seriously considering a bob (Self Reminder: I cannot pull it off). 

The band make it through a plethora of songs in the span of their set without once losing the attention or support of the crowd. Despite Hindriks fighting off the strains of performing loud music multiple nights in a row with apologetic sips of tea in between songs, the strained rasp on her vocals only adds to the spooky, mysterious quality of the band’s alternative songs. There’s not a single song that gets a lull from the audience. We are reflective during the haunting ‘shut in my body’, a powerful song about women walking home alone at night. We are dramatic in the teen-drama ready hit ‘Circles’. We are vigorous during the energetic, and seemingly most popular, ‘Baby Don’t You Know’, which results in floor-shaking jumps and enthusiastic cooing. By the time the concert ends, we are exhausted yet surprised, as the whole thing seemed to pass in a matter of seconds. Luckily, to round off the evening, there is still a chance to meet the charming members of the band as they mingle upstairs amidst the lingering hope of leftover food. 

It takes a lot of talent to be the night’s highlight in a friendly pub with curry on the menu, but Ciel certainly are. I won’t lie to you and tell you they are better than pakora, it wouldn’t be fair and nobody would believe me. But I will say, they are up there. And if that’s not high praise, then I don’t know what is.