CONCERT REVIEW : GUN – Barrowland Glasgow 9th December 2023

On a damp winter evening in Glasgow, crowds of Gun fans huddled together in the biting cold, their breath visible in the night air as they queued outside the iconic Barrowland Ballroom. It was time for the city’s beloved band’s traditional Christmas gig, an annual event that transformed the drenched landscape into a vibrant hub of anticipation and excitement. Tonight, the grand spectacle held a unique allure, with The Godfathers slated to be the opening act for the evening. As the neon lights of the Barrowland marquee illuminated the puddle-strewn streets, bathing the venue in its ethereal, multi-coloured glow, the palpable excitement reached a fever pitch. There was a sense that tonight’s show was going to be an unforgettable experience.

The legendary Barrowland Ballroom was electrified by the remarkable performance of The Godfathers, featuring Peter Coyne, Jon Priestley, Billy Duncanson, Wayne Vermaak, and Richie Simpson. Opening their short mini tour with the classic “This is War,” the band received a heartwarming Glasgow welcome as their music prompted a wave of dancing and singing throughout the audience. The charismatic lead singer, Peter Coyne, captivated the crowd, covering the front of the stage and connecting with the enthusiastic audience. The Godfathers continued to entertain, performing catchy tunes like “Cause I Said So,” “OCD,” “I Want You,” and their first single from 1986, “This Damn Nation.” The passionate audience, even those unfamiliar with the band’s music, found themselves singing along enthusiastically. The band concluded their set with the iconic “Birth, School, Work, Death,” which was met with a chorus of approval from the audience. Their heartfelt gratitude towards the Barrowland audience resonated through their goodbyes, praising the unforgettable experience of performing on a Saturday night at the iconic Glasgow venue. The Godfathers departed with a heartfelt “Thank you, Glasgow,” promising an unforgettable memory for all.

As the stage lights dimmed, the exciting opening sequence set the tone for the night’s performance, welcoming back Paul McManus, the drummer of Gun, after his health issues. A roar of approval echoed through the venue as the rest of the band members, including Andy Carr, Giuliano “Jools” Gizzi, and Ru MacFarlane, took their positions on stage. The anticipation in the room was electric as Dante Gizzi, the lead singer, finally stepped into the spotlight. The band received a thunderous welcome, and they played the opening chords of “Lucky Guy,” a new song from their upcoming album “Hombres.” The crowd was soon electrified, bouncing along to their crowd-favourite hit, “She Knows.” Dante effortlessly commanded the stage, making sure to acknowledge the fans at the front of the crowd, creating an unforgettable night of rock and roll.

The atmosphere at the venue was electric, charged with passion as the crowd enjoyed the band’s renditions of their favourite songs, “Don’t Say It’s Over” and the enchanting “Backstreet Brothers” from the Calton Songs album. Performing the second song, “Falling,” from the forthcoming album amplified the energy tenfold, creating a harmonious blend with the older tracks. Then, the band’s lead, Dante, increased the fan interaction, turning on the front of the house lights to get a glimpse of the ecstatic crowd and coaxing them to raise their hands in unison as they kicked off the opening chords to “Word Up.” The crowd’s response left no stone unturned as they belted out “W.O.R.D. Up” in full voice, the sound ricocheting off the roof of the old venue. The evening took a more interactive turn when Dante introduced the video crew around the venue, announcing that they would be filming their performance of “Take Me Back Home” from the new album for an upcoming music video.

The band set the stage ablaze as they delivered a fiery performance of their iconic anthem, “Money.” Their energy was truly infectious, sparking an exciting dance frenzy among the audience. The crowd was further delighted as the band rolled out their latest hit single, “All Fired Up,” with Jools and Ru, the dynamic duo, owning the stage and immersing themselves in the energetic atmosphere, feeding off the sweaty euphoria of the front-row fans. The intensity escalated as they moved into the big hits, with “Better Days” and “Inside Out” threatening to shake the very foundations of Barrowland. The zenith of the set was reached with the performance of “Steal Your Fire,” which saw the venue united in a passionate chorus, the crowd bouncing along and singing with fervour and pride. The band’s departure was only temporary, as the audience eagerly anticipated their return after a brief interlude.

As the roar of the hometown audience reached feverish heights, Jools and Dante re-emerged on stage, their hands gripping acoustic guitars. Their introduction of the title track, “Taking on the World,” from their debut album was met with overwhelming adulation. The brothers delivered a passionate rendition of the track, their connection with the audience at the Barrowland venue evident in every note. The dynamic energy didn’t wane as the rest of the band rejoined them on stage, delivering a powerful rendition of another classic, “Higher Ground.” Ending the show in true Gun style, they brought the house down with their epic track “Shame on You.” Dante even expressed his desire for a two-night gig at the same venue next year. The wooden floor of the venue seemed to pulse with the jumping and dancing of their ardent fans. Before concluding, the band members positioned themselves at the front of the stage for their traditional crowd backdrop photo, bidding their final goodbye to a sold-out venue.

Tonight marked an extraordinary event filled with anticipation for the release of the new album ‘Hombres’, set to roll out early next year. The boys who were back in town delivered a remarkable, power-packed performance, adding to the special night. Their extraordinary music found its roots deep in the old venue, shaking the foundations to its core. We eagerly anticipated a glimpse of the thrilling musical treat that awaits us in the upcoming year, making it a memorable one to look forward to.

Review by Karen Edmond Photographs by James Edmond

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