Live review of Glasvegas at The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham on September 25th 2008.
From being unsigned this time last year to being 24 hours and a whisker away from taking the coveted number one album slot away from Metallica, its fair to say that Glasvegas' ascent has been something of a revelation, even if there are still those out there who doubt their sincerity or staying power.
Even in this part of the world their rise can be measured by way of the five shows they've been scheduled to play this year, starting with the intimate surroundings of the Bodega Social in January through to the 550 capacity Rescue Rooms here culminating in their already nigh-on sold out pre-Christmas date at the much larger Trent University. Whereas that first show may have been a voyage of discovery for the curious, tonight is something of a welcoming party for the gallant runners-up; James Hetfield and co. may have won the initial battle but Glasvegas most definitely seem intent on staying around for the long haul. With tickets changing hands outside and on eBay at up to four times their face value, these are heady times indeed for the four Glaswegians, and if the fervent response that greets their arrival onstage is anything to go by their ascension is far from reaching its peak just yet.
And then of course there's THAT album. Plaudit after plaudit seems to have landed quite dramatically at the band's feet, some sensible, some utterly outrageous proclaiming the record to be the best thing since ; while 'Glasvegas' as an album isn't quite the zeitgeist defining monster most of us had hoped it would be - particularly after the demos and early singles that preceded it - there's no denying the fact that Glasvegas the band are an incredible outfit in the context of a live arena, and frighteningly their shows seem to get better every time.
Phil Spector, The Reid Brothers, The Clash, even The Twilight Sad - Glasvegas have been compared to all of them and although it would be unfair to say that what they do usurps any of the aforementioned, there are obvious parallels to be drawn with each and every one. The walls of noise that greet almost every song for starters, particularly opener 'Flowers And Football Tops' and the deafening mid-set clatter of 'Go Square Go' that threatens to turn the Rescue Rooms into a mini FA Cup Final, such are the cries of "Here We, Here We, Here We Fucking Go!" echoing around the room long into the song that follows it.
'Ice Cream Van' meanwhile, previously stripped down to just James Allan, cousin Rab and an old keyboard when previewed earlier this summer, now takes on a whole new identity here, even from the version on the album, as the rhythm section of Paul Donoghue and Caroline McKay add their own pulsating noise that is seven parts defective wind tunnel and one part, dare I say it, Sigur Ros back in the quasi-experimental days of 'Von'.
The biggest cheers - and sing along - unsurprisingly, are reserved for set closer 'Daddy's Gone', a song that grows in stature as a bonafide 21st Century anthem with every listen. At the end, James Allan removes his shades to reveal a wry smile that tells its own story. These tales of darkness and despair may have a not-so-pleasant history, but the way they transcend class, genre and culture will undoubtedly ensure Glasvegas have a more than stable future, as on tonight's showing, they were nothing short of inspirational. If they can recreate the same fervour in the studio for album number two, then we really may have a generation-defining band on our hands.