Glasvegas, Concert Hall, Troon

Wednesday, January 12

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With recent press stories about singing to a bowl of goldfish and posing for pictures wearing ski goggles, you’d be forgiven for thinking that [a]Glasvegas[/a] frontman [b]James Allan[/b] has finally gone a bit Jack Torrance. “All work and no play makes James a dull boy,” scream their new, The Shining-aping tour T-shirts, with tongue firmly pressed in the cheek of the maker. Yup, the [a]Glasvegas[/a] frontman really is one of the great, modern day rock’n’roll eccentrics.

Walking on to the sparkling Troon Concert Hall stage to the bleak tinkling of [b]‘Moonlight Sonata’[/b] (from [b]‘Stabbed’[/b]) they fire into opening newbie [b]‘The World Is Yours’[/b]. Tonight James and his band, which now includes Swedish drummer [b]Jonna Löfgren[/b], get a chance to burst out of their isolation with a purpose. Apart from the song’s glorious chorus (“If I’m your world/Then the world is yours”) the most notable sign of a changed [a]Glasvegas[/a] comes from their new stickswoman, who creates a wondrous thunder that, sadly, former drummer [b]Caroline[/b] could never conjure.

It’s also a mega tune which crescendos into a glorious climax of cobweb-dissolving noise-pop. It’s followed by [b]‘Geraldine’[/b], which still has the power to induce a word-perfect crowd singalong and old B-side [b]‘A Little Thing Called Fear’[/b] which sounds perfectly formed within the new [a]Glasvegas[/a] set-up: it’s brash and cocksure. Looking up to where his mother and stepfather sit in the hall’s upper tier, James says, “I thought I would write a dancing song for my mam and Thomas for a Saturday night,” before the second of the three new tracks aired tonight, [b]‘Shine Like Stars’[/b] begins with a stuttering synth reminiscent of [a]Yeah Yeah Yeahs[/a]’ ‘Zero’ before erupting into a cataclysm of ’80s arcade game guitar wails and toe-tapping bass thumps. It sounds like a mega hit, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t even the best new one we hear aired tonight. That prize is reserved for the aptly named [b]‘Euphoria’[/b], which is treated by the fans as an old favourite. The place goes totally ape-shit when the instantly catchy riff is driven from [b]Rab Allan[/b]’s spiralling guitar.

[b]‘Flowers And Football Tops’[/b] sounds haunting stripped down to its bare bones, with James’ chilling vocal backed only by Rab on an organ. It shows that [a]Glasvegas[/a] can still pull off tender heartbreak amongst thrilling, epic pop-rock that’s sounding bigger and more world-conquering than ever. This is evident in the encore of [b]‘Daddy’s Gone’[/b], which continues to stir heartache and joy in equal measure. Bands are like people: some shine and some don’t. [a]Glasvegas[/a] are a gleaming light.

[b]Jamie Crossan[/b]

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