Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Oasis @ SECC 5th November 2008

5th November 2008 - Oasis at Glasgow SECC

I was a massive Oasis fan back in the day. They arrived at the perfect time for me. I first caught them back in April 1994, when I was 18, at Glasgow Tramway when they were supporting Boo Radleys. I was immediately hooked, buying a tshirt and poster after the gig. 1994 was an amazing year to be into Oasis. My next gig was in June at the old Cathouse. The band came on stage late and by that point the crowd had reached fever pitch. Oasis had them in the palm of their hand and boy did they know it. Noel talked to the crowd asking 'd'ye think we're any good?', all the time knowing that his band were on the verge of greatness, on the crest of a wave. We knew it by then. 'Supersonic' and 'Shaker Maker' had been released as singles and the band had cleverly allowed demos of 'Fade Away' and 'Cigarettes & Alcohol' to be released on free casettes given away with the NME.


After the Cathouse came one of the greatest gigs I have ever been to, Oasis playing the old NME tent at the first ever T in the Park, back when it ws held in Strathclyde Park. The tent was bulging at the seams as they came on. The atmosphere was electric and the band played an outstanding set of their debut album and traditional set close, a cover of The Beatles 'I Am The Walrus'. Someone in the crowd threw a football on the pitch and Noel and Liam took it in turns at doing keepie-uppie and volleying the ball back into the crowd, only to request back up on stage. The ball was always returned whenever they requested it.


In December of that year the band played the Barrowlands. The first gig ended in tears as Liam stormed off after three songs due to his voice going. Noel took over and played an acoustic set before the rest of the band joined him to close the gig. But he promised that if we kept our ticket stubs that the band would return with Liam in full voice. Noel was true to his promise and the band returned after Christmas to play an amazing gig, the sweat was dripping off the roof of the Barrowlands.


I'll save memories of Sheffield Arena in 95 and Knebworth in 96 for another time, lets cut to 2008.


Oasis are a strange band in 2008. I get the impression that Liam is really the only guy that wants to be in Oasis, the only person that believes in Oasis. Andy Bell and Gem are happy to count the money, delighted to have a pension to look forward to after Hurricane No 1 and Heavy Stereo. Noel would be better off going solo and who knows who the drummer is these days.


But Oasis still arouse the passion in me that I got when I was 18 at T in the Park or the Barrowlands. I know how good they can be, what they are capable of. But that run of singles, albums and gigs from 1994 to Knebworth in 1996 will never be repeated. Noel became a multi-millionaire and lets be honest, his songs have never been as good since. He lost the desire in my opinion, he's happy to refer to sales figures and the money in his band and good on him. He deserves it. But Oasis are in the position where everything they do will be compared t the glory days. if they had quit after Morning Glory, or even after Be Here Now they would be remembered fondly. Of course, they still are, it's just that it's the past that most people talk about, not the present or the future.


So the gig past by in a blur (pardon the pun). Highlights for me were 'Slide Away' and 'Don't Look Back In Anger'. Lowlights were the non-appearance of 'Live Forever' and the decision to close the set with a cover of The Beatles 'I Am The Walrus'. The aformentioned cover was a clever choice back in the days when Oasis were breaking but this is 2008 and Noel should have realised that the Oasis version is poor in comparison to The Beatles lysergic tinged original.


Out of the new tunes played, single 'The Shock of the Lightning' was the highlight. A menacing riff, catchy refrain and dare I say it, a bit of a groove. But to play songs like 'Meaning Of Soul'  off the last album instead of tunes like 'Acquiesce' or 'Live Forever' is just unexcusable.


But I am digressing. Let's get back to the set. 'Rock 'n' Roll Star' is still a perfect opener, it still soars where others can only dream of reaching, 'Lyla' delights the younger fans in the audience and despite being a bit of a plodder, it is still a half-decent song. The aformentioned 'Shock of the Lightning' is played a breakneck speed, it is obvious that the band enjoy playing it. As if to show off, the band then toss in 'Cigarettes & Alcohol' but then ruin it immediately by following it up with the poor 'Meaning of Soul'.


'To Be Where There's Life' and 'Waiting For The Rapture' represent an excuse for me to nip to the bar just before it closes to get two pints to see me through the rest of the gig. Things then pick up dramatically with a quartet of songs that many bands would die for 'Masterplan', 'Songbird', 'Slide Away' and 'Morning Glory'. Liam casually dedicates 'Songbird' to 'the wife'. Noel's voice sounds better than ever on 'Masterplan'. 'Slide Away' is an absolute masterpiece, Liam sings like his life depends on it and 'Morning Glory' cuts like a knife.


I supppose the audience might have needed a chance to rest their vocal chords after that quartet of tunes and it was provided by the bland 'Ain't Got Nothing' that was over almost as soon as it started, before Noel launched into 'The Importance of Being Idle'. The song brought one of the loudest cheers (and there were many) of the night from the crowd.


Liam returned to sing his new song 'I'm Outta Time', one of the few decent tracks of the new album and it may have a lengthy future in the Oasis set-list as it already had the crowd singing along. Liam then fought to outsing the crowd on the Oasis anthem 'Wonderwall' which brought a rapturous reception and thenthe band launched into debut single 'Supersonic'. The song still burns brightly, 14 years after it's release.


Noel kicks off the encore with a glorious, melodic, semi-acoustic version of 'Don't Look Back In Anger', before another new tune 'Falling Down'. It has a flowing melody and I would anticipate remaining in the set-list for a while. 'Champagne Supernova' sparks the predictable mass sing-a-long and rightly so. The aformentioned 'I Am The Walrus' ends proceedings.


My reaction - I had a good night out, but the SECC is a terrible venue for a concert. The sound quality is poor. Some great songs, the chance to relive my youth, a good night out with my brother and friends, but overall, possibly the last time I will go to see Oasis.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Vampire Weekend at Glasgow Barrowlands, 29/10/08

29th October 2008 - Vampire Weekend at Glasgow Barrowlands

There is always something special about a gig at the Barrowlands. My first gig there was way back in 1993 when Teenage Fanclub headlined a gig with support from The Posies and the delicious Juliana Hatfield 3.

15 years down the line and I felt like the oldest guy in the crowd at a gig by NME favourites Vampire Weekend. The crowd, mainly consisting of very excited teenagers, were well up for it and so were the band. They ripped through their album and played a couple of new tunes and b-sides to pad out the set.

Their were some excellent moments - notably the pop punk of the single 'A Punk', 'Oxford Comma' and 'Walcott'. The bands sound is incredibly basic and pure with minimal, if any, effects. They rely heavily on melodies and the inventiveness of singer Ezra Koenig's voice. Some songs are very rythmic, with the bass and drums carrying the song along.

Despite being incredibly simplistic, the songs are incredibly clever. There is a hint of Paul Simon/Simon and Garfunkel about some of the songs and an almost Carribean feel to others. Some songs clock in at barely 3 minutes and it was to the bands credit that they didn't play extended versions.

All in all, a very enjoyable gig and a band not afraid to be a bit different.

M83 at King Tuts, 26/10/08

26th October 2008 - M83 at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut

It's not very often that I find myself 'gigged out', but after two gigs and my brothers 30th within a week I found myself driving my friend Ian and I to King Tuts for the synth/guitar noisemasters called M83. I was quite pleased that I was driving as it was chucking it down in Glasgow. We parked right outside Tuts and hopped in and up the stairs in plenty of time for M83 starting, although we did miss the support bands.

 I have to confess that I only own one M83 album. The rather excellent 'Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts'. There was a bank of synthesisers and keyboards centre stage and Anthony Gonzales (formerly known as Nicolas Fromageau) was soon twiddling, teasing and tweaking knobs (no jokes please) and was joined by a female who soon started doing the same. They were joined by a drummer who based himself behind a perspex screen and it soon became difficult to know what was being played live and what was being played from a computer.

 Regardless of that the sound quality was fantastic. Gonzales occasionally picked up a guitar and overloaded with effects he blasted the crowd with soaring melodies. There was very little between song banter but the crowd cheered heartfully between songs. It's difficult to describe M83's sound. An easy way out would be to compare it to My Bloody Valentine and teher are certainly similarities. But it's landscapes and layers of sound, the search for something fresh and new, something that no-one before has discovered. I guess that search for a new sound is why 300 people braved a cold, wet and windy night to come out to King Tuts to see and hear the band live.

Conclusion - It was a good gig, not great, but very good at times. It would probably have been better of the crowd wasn't packed in like sardines and had space to dance to some of the more grrove based tunes that M83 delivered and for the purists could certainly argue that not everything was live. But for £10 - a good night out

Tilly and the Wall at King Tuts, 23/10/08

23rd October 2008 - Tilly & The Wall and Moth and the Mirror at King Tuts

After catching Glasgow's Moth and the Mirror on the Your Sound stage at the Connect festival in August I was determined to see them again. Their support slot with the delightful Tilly and the Wall gave me the perfect opportunity. Tuts is still my favourite Glasgow venue for gigs. The intimate size, the history, tradition and atmosphere combine to make the perfect setting. One where new bands can strive to play and established bands enjoy coming back to.

Moth and the Mirror came on shortly after 9pm to a reasonably sized crowd for the first band on a bill of three. Singer Stacey Slevwright plucked gently at her guitar and the rest of the band soon joined in, creating a beautiful melodic sound. It's difficult to desribe the Moth and the Mirror's sound. They remind me of a number of bands, but they are very different in a number of ways - a good thing in my book. They benefit from having a percussion player as well as a drummer, three guitarists, including Stacey, and bass. SO they can be a bit more ambitious and inventive with their sound compared to your normal 3 or 4 piece band.

'Soft Insides' and the brilliantly titled 'Hope Is An Anchor' were excellent but the highlight of their set was a stripped down cover of MGMT's 'Kids'. A band worth watching and checking out.

 Tilly and the Wall came on to a flurry of beats and bleeps. They are definitely a band that can't be pigeon-holed. When I caught them at Glasgow's Indian Summer in 2006 they were almost folky, backed by a girl tap dancing as percussion. The tap dancer is still there, but their new album is more electro-pop. If anything the combination of styles as won them new fans but left their audience confused as to what to expect live. The younger fans in the audience were definitely there for the new material, such as the infectious single 'Beat Control', while older fans lapped up the tunes played in the encore. The sound for the band could have been better and they did appear to be miming for some of the new electro pop songs, but it was an enjoyable gig, if only for the eye candy provided by the two blonde singers!

Elbow at Glasgow Academy, 19/10/08

19th October 2008 - Elbow at Glasgow Academy

Not long after The Charlatans I was at the Academy to see Elbow. I had caught them at the Connect festival in August and I was hugely impressed. They played what must have been a pretty identical set-list at the Academy and although it wasn't really music to dance to or sing-a-long to, it was certainly music to appreciate and get lost in. Elbow clearly take a great deal of pride in their music. They are creative and inventive, playful and thoughtful, in an era where many bands copy the NME's latest fave band and stick with that.

 Elbow are riding on the crest of a wave just now after winning the Mercury Music Prize and that showed in their performance. Guy Garvey was brimming with confidence, a far cry from when I first saw them supporting New Order in Manchester. He was happy to talk to the crowd, raise a glass and toast them and get his band into a huddle to start off the magnificent 'Weather To Fly'.

 The reception that 'One Day Like This' received was predictable, but still emphatic. It lifted the crowd and took them to a place warmer than a cold night in Glasgow. But it was the groove of 'Grounds For Divorce' that got the crowd really going. A very enjoyable gig.

The Charlatans at Paisley Town Hall, 13/10/08

13th October 2008 - The Charlatans at Paisley Town Hall

A Monday night isn't usually the best night of the week for live gigs, but this was a little different, in more ways than one. The Charlatans, one of my all-time favourite bands, were in town. Well OK, not quite in town, but pretty close. Paisley Town Hall to be precise.

My girlfriend Lynn and I drove over, arriving at the venue for the back of 8 o'clock. In plenty of time for me to get a beer and catch most of the support act, the rather good The Ruling Class. With loads of reverb and a sound that is a cross between early Charlatans and Roses, they went down quite well.

Paisley Town Hall is a beautiful old venue with standing downstairs and a balcony around the hall with seats. Tim Burgess was in the seats watching the support act and he got up quite a few times to have a dance to some of their tunes.

 After a couple more beers The Charlatans took to the stage and launched into the title track of their current album 'You Cross My Path'. The sound was fantastic and the band clearly looked like they were enjoying playing new and smaller venues. Their was barely any let up in the set that went straight into 'Weirdo'  and included one run of songs that many bands would die for - 'The Only One I Know', 'Soul-Saver', Oh Vanity!' and 'One To Another'. Add in songs like 'Crashin' In', 'How High' and 'Sproston Green' and you have an excellent set.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Ronnie Spector, Glasgow Arches, 29/09/08

It was one of those nights, the best kind of nights, nights where you are nervous, you don't know what the performance will be like, let alone the result. The kind of night where there is a sense of anticipation in the air beforehand, is it really going to happen? I've always thought that you can compare some gigs to football matches and this was one of them. With a tingle of nervousness and excitement I entered The Arches to see Ronnie Spector.

The Arches is a unique venue in the heart of Glasgow, dis-used railway arches that used to be warehouses that have now been turned into a multi-purpose centre for arts and entertainment. Last night a crowd of all ages came to be entertained by one of the most famous female singers of all time - Ronnie Spector.

Spector was a member of the original all conqueoring girl group - The Ronettes. With Phil Spector writing and producing you had a chance of success, throw in the unique and beautiful vocals of Veronica Bennett (Ronnie Spector) backed by her sister Estelle and their cousin Nedra Talley and you had a winning formula that produced outstanding moments of musical beauty.

Shortly before 9pm the lights dimmed and a guy resembling Peter Stringfellow took to the stage to announce that Ronnie would be on in 10-15 minutes. He then proceeded to warn the audience that any form of photography would result in a swift eviction from the premises - nice.

The dj's from Glasgow's 'Eyes Wide Open' club played rare grooves and beats from the 60's and the volume increased the closer to stage time. The Ronettes were not the original Ronettes, simply Ronnie's backing band. They came on and started jamming, they stopped and launched into 'I Wonder' and Ronnie entered from the back of the stage. She looked and sounded fantastic

The next hour and 15 minutes went by in a blur as Spector sang her heart out, playing hit after hit. There was a gorgeous opening sequence containing 'I Wonder', 'Do I Love You' and 'Why Won't They Let Us Fall In Love' before the crowd erupted with appreciation and Ronnie sang the classic 'Baby I Love You'.

Spector looked great, her jet black hair hanging loosely past her shoulders, a far cry from her beehive from the 60's. Her tight trousers were still a little too loose for her slim figure and she had to pull them up on a number of occassions. She would sit on the drum-riser and then gently walk to the front of the stage at the most dramatic moments in the music, a professional, working the crowd, but remaining out of reach.

The crowd contained people of all ages, from teenagers, to many in their 60's and probably their 70's as well. A lovely old couple in front of me told me that they were here for the guys 65th birthday and that he never thought he would see Ronnie live on stage. They swayed and sang along to tunes that have been the soundtrack to their life for 40 plus years.

The tunes - ah the tunes. The lyrics are remarkably simple at times, but they are lyrics that anyone and everyone can relate to - heartbreak, loss, wanting, needing and loving - genius. And the music, Spector was backed by two keyboardists, a drummer who resembles the drummer from Gorrillaz, bass and guitar. The band were, as you would expect, sh*t hot.

If the audience wondered how Ronnie could top the opening half, they didn't have to wonder for long. She rolled out classics such as 'Walking In The Rain' (probably my personal highlight of the night), 'So Young', 'Best Part Of Breaking Up' and then the song a lot of people had been waiting for 'Be My Baby'. Spector also threw in a song that Bruce Springsteen had written for her and 'You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory' that she recorded with The Ramones.

To football style chants of 'Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie' she came on for an encore of 'I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine' and 'I Can Hear Music' leaving the crowd with huge smiles on their faces.

This was a remarkable gig, possibly once-in-a-lifetime. I hope she comes back!


Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Connect & Sigur Ros

Our day started early on as Dave arrived to pick Lynn and I up from our flat at 9.15am sharp. We left not long afterwards and enjoyed quiet roads all the way to Inveraray. The scenery was spectacular and the mist rolled on the hills in the distance. We arrived at the car park at 1pm and paid a tenner to get in. The car park resembled a swamp and as we came to the point where we had to cut off the temporary surface Dave joked that Lynn and I should get out in case he got bogged down and we had to push.

Seconds later Dave was bogged down and we were ankle deep in mud. We soon got him out with the help of a fellow festival goer. Lynn had already got her 8 quids worth out of her funky new wellies. We walked along a country path that was slippy, muddy and almost like quick sand in places. It was raining quite heavily at this point and on the way we bumped into our friends James and Michelle who resembled drowned rats. They had been camping for the weekend and were taking their stuff back to their car and I think they were also contemplating just going home as they were cold, wet and miserable. Thankfully they changed their minds and we bumped into them later on.

We walked past the camp site on the way to the festival entrance and I could see why they were contemplating going home, after two nights in a mud bath it would probably be the sensible option. We got to the site entrance and were soon on our way in, walking up to the impressive Inveraray Castle. The muddy path and turned into a tarmac road and gravel and it felt good to be on solid ground. We were told that the festival wouldn't be starting until 1pm and we couldn't get to the stages until that time, and, as we only had day tickets we shouldn't have been allowed in at this time - just after 12pm. We refused to leave as the stewards didn't exactly inspire us with confidence when they said we could get back in without a wrist band. So we hung around in the rain and I bought a Sunday Herald as they were giving out free mini-umbrellas.

When the site finally opened at around 1.30pm we had a quick walk around, quickly finding the fantastic food tent and having a roll and shredded lamb. Other options included Loch Fyne Oysters, Haggies, Neeps and Tatties, Macaroni and Cheese and much much more. We then nipped into the cider tent before heading to the Guitars and Other Machines stage. At this stage I have to say that the whole site was a bit of a mud bath, but the Guitars and Other Worlds Stage resembled the Dagoba system where Luke met Yoda. The first band of the day Black Cherry came on to play to around ten people standing in puddles. Their noise soon alerted people from nearby and soon there was a crowd of around 100 who didn't know whether to watch the band or a little kid running around through the puddles splashing his parents.

We quickly left the Dagoba system and headed round to the main stage, via the Kopparberg cider tent again. The pear and mixed fruit cider was going down very well. The main stage was less swampy and straw had been laid near the front to soak up some water. We caught a bit of Young Knives, but they didn't really do anything for either of us so we wandered over to the Your Sound new bands stage and caught a really good Scottish band called Endor. We then made another trip to the cider tent before heaidng back to the main stage to catch a bit of Santagold. They were alright, they certainly brought a bit of colour and flair to the day.

After stopping off for more cider and bumping into our friend Sita we headed to the Your Sound stage to catch an excellent band called Moth and the Mirror. They are a 6-piece based in Glasgow and have their own unique sound. I couldn't say how they are influenced by but I imagine they must have Sigur Ros and Arcade Fire albums in their collections. But they sounded original, I think they must have a diverse range of influences, well worth checking out.

After more cider and some food we headed over to watch Elbow on the main stage and amazingly it stopped raining! Elbow were on excellent form, they have always had excellent taste in music, they have been ambitious and maybe now, with songs like the antheemic 'One Day Like This', their time may have finally arrived.

After Elbow we wandered back to the cider tent - do you see a pattern emerging? - and then back to the Your Sound stage to catch the excellently named We Were Promised Jetpacks. Their energetic pop punk sound drew a decent sized crowd that they seemed to appreciate.

It was still dry and there were blue skies above as we headed back to the main stage to watch the band we had come for - Sigur Ros. This was Daves third time seeing them, but it was the first time for Lynn and I. The sun set on the hills in  the distance and Sigur Ros arrived on stage and launched into their unique orchestral sound. To describe their music as cinematic or orchestral is probably doing it an injustice. It's bigger than that, no-one else sounds like them, it is music to soundtrack your life - and of course the likes of Polar Bears. 3 songs in they played the theme tune from the BBC's excellent Planet Earth, otherwise known as Hoppipolla. The hairs on my neck stood to attention and the sound was almost overwhelming. The band didn't let up and played some tracks off their new album alongside older tracks - I can never remember the names. With a string section and brass band backing them they pulled out all the stops, their brass band wore 'see you Jimmy' hats at one point. The band were having fun and sent out sprays of confetti into the crowd at one point and had everyone playing drums at another.

I can honestly say that it was one of the best performances I have ever seen. Life affirming stuff.

After that we went back to the food tent for one last bite to eat and then down to the main stage to catch a bit of Franz Ferdinand. If Franz Ferdinand caught any of Sigur Ros they must have been wondering how the hell they were going to top them. Regardless of whether they did or not, they sounded quite flat and bland in comparison - no offence to Franz Ferdinand who are usually a good live band, but following Sigur Ros is pretty impossible.

We left after 30 minutes and made the long walk back to the car park through the mud. Dave's car was stuck in so we had to get some help pushing it out, returning the favour to someone else. Thankfully we got out early otherwise the car park would have been a nightmare.

As for connect, I hope the sun shines next year and the line-up is as strong as the first year to tempt me back for the entire weekend. The location is lovely, the atmosphere is great, the food is out of this world and if Sigur Ros play again it might just make my summer.

Check my friend Daves photos at

Friday, 29 August 2008

Connect previw

This Sunday I am heading off to the Connect Music Festival at Inverarary Castle. I missed the first Connect festival last year when I was travelling and I was pretty gutted. The 2007 line-up had to be a contender for the best and most eclectic line-up of the festival season. Artists appearing included The Beastie Boys, Bjork, LCD Soundsystem, CSS, The Go Team!, Echo and the Bunnymen, Primal Scream, Mogwai, Big Star, The Polyphonic Spree, Hot Chip, personal favourites Teenage Fanclub and Jesus & Marychain.

That is a staggering line-up. Somewhat predictably, yet still disappointingly, the 2008 line-up doesn't reach those standards. My girlfriend and I originally thought about going for the full 3 days, but the  line-up didn't quite convince us that it was worth £150 each and the absolutely attrocious weather in Scotland didn't go any further towards helping us make our minds up that it would be a great weekend camping in an amazing location.

Friday has it's attractions for me, mainly on the Guitars and Other Bands stage - psychedelic indie popsters Mercury Rev headline and are supported by The Breeders. Steve Malkmus and the Jicks would be intersting to see, as would Ladytron. But the main stage line-up, headlined by Kasabian and backed up by the Manics, Amy MacDonald and The Guillemots is really nothing to write home about. Not worth the equivalent of £50 for the day.

Saturday fares slightly better with the excellent Spiritualized on the main stage along with Conor Oberts and Nick Caves Grinderman. Headliners Bloc Party don't do it for me, although I have to admit that their singer has an excellent voice. Elsewhere Glasgow band Glasvegas will be out to justify the hype surrounding them ahead of their final festival appearance before their album is released and the always entertaining Gossip headline the other stage. The Roots could steal the show in the dance tent.

But it is Sunday that has caught my attention with the excellent, creative and inspiring Sigur ros playing second on the bill to Franz Ferdinand. Franz Ferdinand may have some outstanding power pop tunes, but their work will be cut out to follow the Icelandic band and their majestic music. I am also looking forward to Elbow, a vastly under-rated band with huge musical ambitions.

Stay tuned to find out how it all goes…..

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The Beep Seals, Norman Blake & St Deluxe

On Friday I attended the Glasgow msuic institution that is Nice 'n' Sleazys. It's more nice than sleazy these days, but it still has that low vibe indie feeling to it that makes it special. The main reason I was there was due to the fact that Norman Blake was playing a solo support slot to the main band The Beep Seals. Glasgow band St Deluxe were also supporting, making it excellent value for the £7 pay on the door ticket. 

I did make the mistake of going out straight after work, so after several beers in the Variety Bar along the road and with no food in my belly I rolled into Sleazys with my friend Lorna around 8.20pm, in time to see St Deluxe play their full set. St Deluxe play with a genuine passion that other bands can only dream of. There is no posing, no ridiculous haircuts, trilby hats, skinny jeans or waistcoats. They play real indie rock, crediting My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr and Jesus & Marychain among their influences. Their fuzzy scuzzy indie rock with a tinge of pop went down well with the crowd that grew the longer their set went on. They are well worth checking out

By the time Norman Blake took to the stage I was pretty hammered. He played a set of cover versions, starting off with a beautiful Scottish folk song and then playing 60's pop tunes including 'Baby Lee' (complete with backing from The Beep Seals). It was fantastic to see Norman in such a small venue and if you do a search on YouTube you will find videos of his set.

I was thoroughly impressed by The Beep Seals and I would have bought their album after the gig if I hadn't spent all my money on beer by that point. They hail from Manchester and are very fanclub-esque, with beautiful harmonies, great chord changes and a real fun-time pop attitude. Norman got on stage at the end to play a brilliant version of the Fanclub classic 'The Concept', with three guitars duelling at the end. Lovely.

I rolled in my flat at midnight and needless to say Saturday was a complete write-off. Top night out.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Glasgow is quite a small city, it's almost like a large town. I think that this is one of the main reasons that, as a music fan, I honestly believe there can't be many better cities in the world to live in. London will always have more going on due to it's size, but travelling from one side to another can take hours. New York City will always be hip and happening, but are the crowd 'too cool for school?'

Manchester must be near the top of the list as it has spawned at least half a dozen legendary bands and always has loads going in in underground pubs and clubs, idependent labels and it also has the absolutely outstanding Piccadily Records.

But let's get back to Glasgow. In terms of venues Glasgow has two that could be considered truly 'world famous', KIng Tuts Wah Wah Hut and the Glasgow Barrowlands. Thrown in local favourite Nice'n'Sleazys, the tiny but brilliant 13th Note, Mono, the cavernous SECC, The Carling Academy, The Arches, Stereo, Classic Grand, Renfrew Ferry, The Box, Oran Mor and many local pubs and clubs and you always have something going on.

Tuts and the Barrowlands are my favourites, so my favourite gigs from there are listed below

In addition to the dozens of venues in Glasgow there are some excellent record shops. FOPP in Byres Road  - ideal for building up your cd collection as many are only £5, Mono in Kings Court - a gig venue, bar, vegan restaurant and record shop all rolled into one, Avalanche around the corner from Queen Street Station, Oxfam Records in Byres Road and one that I am very fond of - Mixed Up Records in Otago Lane, next to the funky Tchai Ovna tea house.

But, and this is a cliché, though it is true, it is the people that make Glasgow such a vibrant musical city. It's the peoples passion for dancing, having a good time, singing, socialising, finding new sounds, discovering old ones that ensures there is always scope for a gig or club night for any kind of music on any scale. Glasgow Barrowlands has been nominated by bands and fans alike as the best venue in the country and many who have attended gigs there will liken the atmosphere to a cup final.

This blog will tell tales of music in glasgow, featuring gig reviews, single/album reviews, previews and genreal music musings. Read on to check out some of my all-time favourite gigs. 

With a capacity of only 250 King Tuts is an ideal place to catch up and coming bands, as well as the occasional secret gig by an established band or a comeback from a 60's legend. My top 5 favourite gigs at King Tuts would probably be (in no particular order):

Arthur Lee and Love

I was lucky enough to catch Arthur Lee and Love (backing band Baby Lemonade) 3 times at King Tuts. Each time was memorable but I'll never forget the first time. No-one knew what to expect as Arthur was not long out of prison and there were rumours that his voice had been destroyed through years of heroin abuse. Lee quickly out paid to those rumours and soared through classics from the legendary Forever Changes album, holding the audience spellbound with a spine tingling rendition of 'You Set The Scene'.


As a young 18-year old I caught Beck at King Tuts just after he released 'Loser'. To this day I don't think I have seen the venue so packed. People were literally hanging off the ceiling to catch him live, such was the buzz around him. Beck's set didn't disappoint and he romped through tunes that encompassed a variety of styles - hip-hop, lo-fi, acoustic, indie, rock. An amazing night.

White Stripes

An electrifying gig. I hadn't heard much of The White Stripes before this gig. I got tickets for me and my friend on the strength of a John Peel recommendation and an article that either appeared in Mojo or Uncut. Jack White took to the centre of the stage with Meg on drums to his right. He seemd to be playing a beat up old acoustic guitar that was covered in paper and he romped through songs, some lasting a minute or less. Stand out tracks were a McCartney-esque 'Pretty Good Looking (for a girl)' and 'Jolene' with White spitting out every word and sweat dripping from his brow.

The Pastels, April 1994

Another gig when I was 18, mainly remembered for being the night that Kurt Cobain died. Remember, in 1994 no-one had a mobile and there was no internet. As soon as I arrived at Tuts with my friend Grant we heard the rumours that Kurt had shot himself. We didn't know what to believe, no-one could confirm it. I remember a support band called Lungleg being so gloriously shambolic that I nievely asked the singer if it was their first ever gig! She looked quite surprised and soon set me right. The Pastels took to the stage and made some kind of announcement that tonights gig was dedicated to Kurt Cobain, but they didn't mention much else. On the way home the John Peel show had been cancelled and Radio 1 played Nirvana Peel Sessions on loop. That confirmed the rumours but not in so many words. A night I will always remember. I still have my Nirvana ticket for the gig they were meant to be playing at Glasgow's SECC, I couldn't bear to return it for a refund.

John Squire

I caught Squire twice at Tuts, the second time was a secret gig that I managed to get tickets for as I was in Tuts for a beer when it was announced. I went along with my brother Ross and our friend Dougal and we were lucky to witness one of the best openings to a gig ever. Squire came on stage with his band and immediately launched into the closing instrumental of 'I Am The Resurrection'. I was literally rubbing my eyes in disbelief and recovered in time to jump down the front for Squire bursting straight into 'She Bang The Drums'. No-one can argue that Squire is a good singer, but with the crowd singing along he just played guitar. BRILLIANT!

Glasgow Barrowlands


1994 again and that December I caught Oasis twice. The first time Liam walked off after losing his voice. Noel played on acoustically and then with the band and the band rescheduled fo Boxing Day. It was an electrifying gig with the band tearing through their debut album and bsides and the band singing along word for word. A band truly on top form.

Primal Scream

I can't remember what year this was but the Scream were supported by the Jesus & Marychain. They were on top form, rejuvenated by the addition of Mani on bass and they tore through their back catalogue. The highlight was the Farley mix of 'Come Together', totally euphoric. Bobby Gillespe was everything you could want in a front man.

New Order

When a band with a back catalogue like New Order play The Barrowlands you know it's going to be a party. With songs like 'Regret', 'Temptation', 'Bizarre Love Triangle' and 'Blue Monday' it was like an old skool rave.


A total and utter party that left me smiling for weeks afterwards. I don't think I will ever experience another ovation like the band got after they played 'Born Slippy'.

The Verve

The Verve were playing the Barrowlands just after 'Bittersweet Symphony' and I didn't have a ticket. Luck came my way when someone at work advertised a ticket for sale on the day of the gig. I went along myself and was blown away by The Verve who opened with 'A New Decade' before ripping into 'This Is Music' and raising the roof later in the set with 'Bittersweet Symphony'.