Glasvegas is a band from Glasgow who creates this lovely, big, wall-of-sound rock thing. Lots of big guitar noise with a floor tom and some do-woppyish rhythms and other cool stuff like that. They played at Mao Livehouse last night and were amazing.
Their 2008 album “Glasvegas” is in my top 10 albums (eh, maybe top 20. I don’t have an actual list but it’s definitely up there) and some of the songs on that album are glorious, glorious masterpieces. For real. Their follow-up from 2011, “Euphoric Heartbreak,” is also good, but nowhere near as good as their first one, but still better than a lot of other stuff. I know, a resounding endorsement, right? But when your first album is just so good, it’s hard to follow. Sophomore slump and all that.
Anyway, didn’t matter, was still psyched to see them. Plus, I got to meet the band beforehand which I was ridiculously excited about. I had seen lead singer James Allan on an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks a while ago–perhaps after their first album came out and he was doing promo work for it–and he was a total dick on the show. Like, a huge dick. You could tell he was just really uncomfortable and not finding Simon Amstell’s jabs funny or amusing in any way at all. And when Amstell was the host of NMTB, if you set yourself up as a poor sport, he was only going to come after you more, so it just did not go well for Allan. So I kind of expected him to still be a dick. Not overtly dickish, but at least a bit. But he wasn’t! Oh wow, none of them were. In fact, I would venture to say they are actually some of the nicest musicians I’ve interviewed. I spoke with guitarist Rab Allan and drummer Jonna Löfgren at length before the show, then met with James and bassist Paul Donoghue after. And they were all so incredibly nice and lovely and really, really modest. Really cool guys.
And the show itself was amazing. Their music was tight and beautiful and spot on. The sound was fantastic, both from them playing and from the sound people at Mao.
Okay, here’s the thing about sound people at venues in Shanghai. People in the know (i.e., other musicians and professionals, but most definitely not me) are always talking about how shit the sound is at various venues. After a show they’ll be like, “Oh, the band was good, yeah, but the sound was totally shit. They should’ve brought their own sound guy with them,” and it means absolutely nothing to me because frankly, I don’t really notice. Also, I always wear earplugs, so unless something is really wrong, like things are terribly mis-balanced and all you hear is bass with no vocals or you’re getting obviously unwanted reverb or feedback, I don’t really notice too much difference. I honestly think that no one really hears the difference but sometimes people just want to say something intelligent-sounding after a show and that’s what pops out. I’ve been to maybe a handful of gigs in the past four years where the thought, “Maybe the sound wasn’t that great tonight,” has popped up legitimately.
The absolutely best was when people used to complain about the sound at the old LOgO. LOgO–a box of a club where you could probably get hepatitis just from touching the walls. Some band would be squeezed up back in the corner with barely enough room to stand next to each other, people would be packed in like sardines with no room to move, and then afterwards someone would say, “Yeah, they were alright, but the sound wasn’t very good in there, was it?” And all the while I’m thinking, “I’ve just seen some dude vomit on the floor and then proceed to sit down in his own vomit.” So the sound was not really a concern of mine.
Man, I miss the old LOgO. That was a great club.
Anyway, the general consensus is that Glasvegas sounded great. And they did. Full interview up on Layabozi here, along with more pics. Definitely looking forward to a new album from them in 2013.