8/3 Glasvegas @ Emos
Glasvegas has been around this web site for a long time now, and we’ve praised them on many a level, but we hadn’t seen them headline their own set just yet; we were lucky to catch them last night at Emos before we have to endure their tour with Kings of Leon in the fall. Ida Maria served as the evening’s appetizers, much to the joy of all those in attendance.
It’s difficult to say precisely how I felt about Ida Maria. On one hand, the music wasn’t bothersome, and in fact, was quite enjoyable at times. The energy for “I Love You So Much Better When You’re Naked” was precisely what the fans in the audience were asking for as they all cheered along. However, I couldn’t stand Ida Maria’s voice. Her guttural punk howl just didn’t come off with a bit of sincerity, and it really made the rest of the music seem unlistenable. Sure, she played coy with the audience, taunting the boys with a brief glimpse of her cleavage, but that doesn’t make for more than showmanship. I’ll give her stage presence, sure, but I’ll be damned if I let that harlot in the gold tin foil get any credit for her voice.
Oddly, the minute that Glasvegas took to the stage, it was clear that this show was meant for a venue larger than Emos, though the crowd was not quite full. Heavy fog machine work filled the stage, as the band stepped out in their all black attire behind a set of flashing red, blue, and white lights. In short, it was an arena show done for a small crowd. And after the set, it was clear that the band could well hold their own.
As they let loose their furious barrage of noise and melody on the audience I was reminded of exactly why their self-titled album nearly burnt out on my record player. Every little detail was carried out in the live setting, and three songs in they played “Geraldine,” which is one of my favorite tracks. The band refused to hold anything back on the sweltering stage, unleashing walls of noise to the delight of the crowd.
Left-handed guitarist Rab Allan was possibly the most entertaining, swinging his guitar about the stage with no regard for where it landed. Drummer Caroline McKay created a simplistic rhythm section. Astonishingly, she pounded at the drums and created huge sound, but she only had a four piece set (two of the pieces were a crash cymbal and a tambourine). But, the night belonged to James Allan.
He came off like he was destined for more than just the small stage. Despite all his rock star posturing, he truly seemed gracious, placing his hand over his heart several times and then pointing to the audience. Even his vocals sounded incredible, down to every little yelp and quiver that you hear on the album. He exhausted himself, all to our delight.
Since the band only has one full-length, they played pretty much the whole thing in its entirety. They closed the main set with “Go Square Go,” which lived up to everyone’s expectations as the crowd joined in to yell “here we fucking go!” They returned to the stage moments late for a somewhat subdued finale. They played three songs, the first being “Ice Cream Van,” but the night belonged to the closer of the evening, “Daddy’s Gone.” Everyone that knew the album sang along, including myself, a few Lone Stars in at this point. It might not have been the most triumphant closer, or at least not in choice, but nothing else would have ended the night so well.
Glasvegas take to the larger stages this fall, and if they keep up the sort of spectacle we saw last night, then they can only climb higher and higher. Best of luck to them.