Glasvegas, Concert Hall, Troon

Wednesday, January 12

Takeshi Suga/NME
Pic: Takeshi Suga/NME
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 Glasvegas frontman James Allan 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 Glasvegas 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 ‘Moonlight Sonata’ (from ‘Stabbed’) they fire into opening newbie ‘The World Is Yours’. Tonight James and his band, which now includes Swedish drummer Jonna Löfgren, 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 Glasvegas comes from their new stickswoman, who creates a wondrous thunder that, sadly, former drummer Caroline could never conjure.

It’s also a mega tune which crescendos into a glorious climax of cobweb-dissolving noise-pop. It’s followed by ‘Geraldine’, which still has the power to induce a word-perfect crowd singalong and old B-side ‘A Little Thing Called Fear’ which sounds perfectly formed within the new Glasvegas 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, ‘Shine Like Stars’ begins with a stuttering synth reminiscent of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘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 ‘Euphoria’, which is treated by the fans as an old favourite. The place goes totally ape-shit when the instantly catchy riff is driven from Rab Allan’s spiralling guitar.

‘Flowers And Football Tops’ sounds haunting stripped down to its bare bones, with James’ chilling vocal backed only by Rab on an organ. It shows that Glasvegas 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 ‘Daddy’s Gone’, which continues to stir heartache and joy in equal measure. Bands are like people: some shine and some don’t. Glasvegas are a gleaming light.

Jamie Crossan

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