CONCERT REVIEW : Glasvegas at Barrowland 17th December 2022

It was a last minute decision to for me to attend this gig, but I am so glad that I did. I had only saw Glasvegas twice before supporting other bands in 2010 and 2014 so was anticipating seeing a full performance from them.

I got there just as the main support – The Big Pink – were starting their set, managing to work my towards the front for a nice spot for the evening. The Big Pink are an electronic/rock band from London consisting of three band members: Robbie Furze (vocals & guitar), Charlie Barker (Bass & backing vocals) and Akiko Matsuura (Drums). They warmed the crowd up nicely for the main act, playing a total of eight songs mostly from the new album The Love That’s Ours (How Far We’ve Come, Love Spins on it’s Axis, Murder, No Angels, Rage and Safe and Sound) and also two songs from their first album. The Big Pink will be back in Glasgow later in the year to play at King Tut’s.

Formed just a couple of miles along the road from the Barras in Dalmarnock in 2003, Glasvegas quickly established themselves as a favourite with Glaswegians. They are a four piece band with James Allan on vocals and guitar, his cousin Rab Allan on lead guitar, Paul Donoghue on bass and Chris Dickie on drums. There have been a few different drummers play with the band over the years, the latest being Chris Dickie. James Allan was first to appear on stage and he started off with an acoustic version of Frosty the Snowman, gently reminding the crowd that Christmas would soon be upon us! James was then joined by the rest of the band for Flowers and Football Tops. This song tackles the issue of sectarianism in Glasgow, the crowd were in complete silence, showing appreciation at the end of the song. Next up was Keep me a Space from the 2021 album Godspeed followed by Lonesome Swan and Dive. The crowd were entertained by four more songs (Later … When the TV Turns to Static, Whatever Hurst You Through the Night, The Wold is Yours and Please Come Back Home) before they played their latest song Shake the Cage.

Shake the Cage (Fur Theo) is a song dedicted to James Allan’s nephew and is mixed by techno giants ‘Slam’. The song originally appeared on the 2021 album Godspeed. They worked on the remix of the song for around year and the end product sounded good. The song also appeared in the film Creation Records, about Alan McGee the record producer, who’s many achievements in the music industry included signing Oasis on the spot at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut back in the 1990s.

The band soon got back to playing songs from their earlier albums. It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry, If (from the ‘Later When’ album) and Holiday & Travel.

Two favourites from their debut album Glasvegas in 2008 were next. Geraldine, a song about a social worker got a good response from the crowd followed by Go Square Go, which relates to the goings on in the school playground.

For Christmas 2008 Glasvegas released an EP with A Snowflake Fell (And it Felt Like a Kiss) and this was the perfect time and audience to play it to. Euphoria, Take my Hand was the penultimate song although James Allan did pretend that it was the last song of the night. The crowd weren’t having that and began singing Daddy’s Gone at full voice for at least one minute, much to the band’s amusement. Daddy’s Gone is one of those song that tugs at the heart strings, and emotions were high in the room. This capped off a memorable night at the Barras. They were on stage a full hour and a half and played 19 songs in total. Here’s hoping they make a quick return to Barrowland soon!

Review and Photographs by Alan Brown

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