The Gig.

I think I might be getting the hang of this now. Although it’s taken me quite a while, I may finally have decided upon something that I can blog about. Although I don’t really watch films or TV, don’t vigorously (or really much atall) play any sport, don’t read all that many books, and don’t go travelling (although I would quite like to). What I do do however, is listen to a lot of music and go to quite a few gigs.

A gig is a wonderful thing isn’t it? That ability to stand in a crowd of hundreds or thousands of people who all share the same love for the artist who is about to grace the stage is quite simply majestic. The anticipation of that half an hour or so between the end of the support act’s set and the beginning of the main event is enough to send shivers all over your body. The chanting of the crowd and the often sing-a-long tunes that blare from the large speakers around the room can quite simply get you buzzing. Then, all of a sudden, the lights go down, the crowd erupts, and simultaneously a smile sneaks onto your face. It is time. From the minute the artist steps onto the stage until the minute they leave, that smile stays fixed and you are enthralled by the talent displayed before you.

Glasgow has a great music scene these days. From the small venues that hold only a few hundred people, to the new Hydro arena which holds around twelve thousand; bands from all over the world have been lucky enough to say they have graced a venue in Glasgow at some point in their careers – many often returning several times over. I’ve graced a few too. Since moving to Stirling in September I have attended fifteen gigs. With the short half hour train journey to Glasgow, I might aswell take advantage of the opportunity. For this blog however, I am going to focus on my recent two visits to The Hydro on Tuesday and Wednesday of the week just passed.

Jack White was my visit on Tuesday night. Already buzzing from the car journey from Stirling, where Ross and I raced through the tunes of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs – along with White’s two solo albums. We finally reached The Hydro, and having missed the support act due to heavy traffic (probably due to that football that was on) had to push our way through the crowd to get a decent spot. With two drinks in my hand and only around fifteen minutes to wait for the appearance of Jack White, the anticipation was building in me. The curtain opened and White and his five bandmates pounded onto the stage. From the opening words “Dead leaves and the dirty ground when I know you’re not around” I could tell he was going to be entertaining. Full of energy and bouncing around the stage, collaborating with the rest of the band on every tune, he screamed out hits such as Hotel Yorba, Fell in Love With a Girl, Steady as She Goes and the recent Lazaretto, obviously ending his run with the ever popular Glasgow chant, Seven Nation Army. Afterwards, all six musicians united at the centre of the stage and bowed together; “I’ve been Jack White and you’ve been incredible. God bless you Glasgow” he shouted. The crowd were dull throughout – to say the least. No doubt an extremely talented fellow – from his guitar solos to his vocal range – something about that night was just lacking. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. Something special was just missing, for me anyway.

The following evening I returned to The Hydro again, this time for Kasabian. Block 234, row P, seat 320. Sitting at a gig is never as good an experience as standing and I’m probably not the only person who would tell you that. Arriving late again, (without even any time to go to the bar) we made our way to our seats. Just in time as the pink 15 minute countdown timer appeared on the large screen behind the stage. “5, 4,3,2,1” the crowd bellowed from below us as the timer reached its end. The room fell into darkness, all but two spotlights at either end of the stage – showing Tom and Serge, seemingly opening the set with an acoustic ‘Bumblebee’.  After a few tunes, the band “took us back to 2004” as Tom Meighan pointed out, with an unusual appearance of ‘Cut Off’ in the set before sliding through hits such as Eez-Eh, Fire, Club Foot and Empire. The encore included the crowd pleaser Vlad the Impaler (sadly without the appearance of Noel Fielding), before the modern Kasabian tradition of their rendition of ‘Praise You’, leading nicely into the finale of Lost Souls Forever. All in all, a good gig. But when considering having seen Kasabian in the small Grand Hall, Kilmarnock only a few months before, coupled with the seating issue in The Hydro, there is simply no comparison in my opinion anyway.

So there it is. My take on the gigs of my week. If you have managed to read through to the end, thank you. If not… well maybe I should just have stopped at two blog posts. Cheers!

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