A drunk man looks at Glasvegas

A drunk man looks at Glasvegas.

At least, I’m not so drunk as tired. Arriving wrapped in a considerable amount of hype this Scottish quartet may well be the next big thing, and can boast any number of would-be anthems in their sonic arsenal – but are they more than that?

Hyping the crowd into a state of frenzy with a fashionably late entrance, the band takes to the stage oozing a gang mentality. Their borrowed Americanisms are a reference not to Grease but to the Glasgow landscape that spawned them – think Easterhouse razor gangs rather than West Side Story.

The violence of much of their lyrics is matched by a menacing live presence as the crowd surge to the front. A maelstrom of noise accompanies them, as lead singer James Allan rubs his guitar against the mic stand, lost in the fog of noise that surrounds him.

With a lack of jaunty indie singles to their name, Glasvegas are a strange choice for a music sensation. However, in the live arena the clear connection between band and audience sways all doubts. This is a band that speaks clearly and directly, a band with a no bullshit mentality that embodies the contradictions of the Scottish male. Cold and aloof onstage, James Allan’s lyrics are often strikingly emotional, documenting a violent background at the same time as they transcend it. Macho posturing gives way to vulnerability, a cry for help leads to a kick in the throat.

Broken homes and broken bones litter the set, the crowd shrieking to every word. The adoption of football anthems and festival chants (“Here we fuckin’ go!” just the tip of a sizeable iceberg) transforms the gig into a genuine event. Ironically, it is their Scottish background that leads to their universal appeal – modern day Rabbie Burns, they evoke the romanticism that surrounds Scotland whilst their gritty lyrics subvert that same nostalgia.

As the final chords of “Daddy’s Gone” ring out, its clear there is no need for an encore as the crowd dissipate, happy, back into the Dundee twilight. Whatever you feel about their music, and the explosive hype that follows them, Glasvegas are clearly a band that people don’t just listen to – they genuinely believe every word.
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