Walking into SWG3 feels like entering the Berghain of Glasgow’s alternative scene. Dim lights, low ceilings, brutalist architecture and more micro-fringes than you can shake a stick at sets the tone for the night ahead. Delivering the music – scratch that – delivering one of the city’s hottest gigs of the year is Lucia & The Best Boys. They’re returning triumphantly to their hometown for the climax of their UK & Ireland tour, celebrating the release of their long-awaited debut album ‘Burning Castles’. There’s a palpable sense of anticipation in the air.
We arrive in time to catch the remnants of Theo Bleak’s set. Her ethereal vocals intertwine with the odd surge of gritty electric guitars, fostering the right dynamic to warm up the crowd for the main act. Bleak’s previous support slots alongside the likes of Suede, Joesef and Noel Gallagher already affirm her as one of Scotland’s biggest musical prospects. Tonight, she oozes promise.
Entering the foray to a riotous roar, Lucia & The Best Boys herald in their new era with the bit firmly between their teeth. ‘When You Dress Up’ draws crowd chants from the offset. Lucia dishes out her trademark glaring stares, powerful vocals and vigorous tom drum thrashes. Embodying the defiant nature of the track, she commands the stage looking the most confident she’s ever been. The segue into ‘So Sweet I Could Die’ only ramps up the momentum. Drummer Ally Scott leads the way with his incendiary bass kicks, the revellers fully in the palm of their hands. “We’ve got a rowdy bunch on our hands tonight,” Lucia later grins.
The most poignant moment of the night comes with an alternative rendition of their 2018 single ‘Summertime’. Not only is its stripped back arrangement a nostalgic nod to their journey as a band, but it’s also a sign of the maturity that encapsulates their latest material. It’s these newer songs that are not only their best, but the ones that the crowd latch onto the most.
Album title track ‘Burning Castles’ is a firm fan favourite with its soaring vocal melodies. But the peak of the night is still to come. “You’ve been loud, but can you be louder?” Lucia shouts, provoking bedlam at the opening chords of ‘Good Girls Do Bad Things’, before an eruption at ‘Perfectly Untrue’. It may have been released during the pandemic, but that hasn’t halted their fans’ ability to belt it back to the band.
There’s no need for an encore come the conclusion. Wrapping up her Scottish symphony with arms spread eagle-esque, Lucia & The Best Boys are at the height of their powers – and they have every right to be proud of their performance. A transfixing showcase, not only do they prove that they’re one of the top players in Scotland’s music scene, they also exemplify why there’s no show quite like a Glasgow show.
Words: Jamie Wilde