Like the tornado chasers of the American mid-west, State are fond of following a very certain type of band around the world. A band with a brilliant first album behind them, and still touring that self-same album, can be a fantastic live experience of youthful exuberance and small venues, as well as being in a crowd excited about seeing said band for the first time. And so we find ourselves in the wonderful Train drinking one of the finest mojitos we’ve ever enjoyed and awaiting for Scot funsters, Glasvegas, to take their place in the blue-black light on the stage before us.
Arriving in black, as is their wont, lead dude James Allen sports shades and his own Glasvegas t-shirt and carries to perfection a sense of detachment mostly, and then genuine thanks when required. Amen for a first-album-band who don’t seem so over-awed every three minutes. Punching high from the start, -Geraldine’ is the opener and State wonders if the actual Geraldine of the song, who now mans the merch stands for the band on tour, ever gets tired of this tribute. Not that the band look tired of it.
Despite the Jutland audience being more ponderous and less involved, the band tear through three of the first four album openers with a great energy, though kind of casting off the vocal-chord-damaging -It’s My Own Cheating Heart’¦’ as third song when we’d barely settled. State was hoping for more foreplay to our favourite number than the quick knee-trembler we got, but the gift that Glasvegas keep giving is songs that seem to take a back-seat on the album can soar above the others live. -Polmont On My Mind’ being a case in point, and found us wishing we were from Polmont just to claim this as an anthem – envious of how Allen spits out, in strong Scottish dialect, the phrase ‘Mister Moonlight’.
As a gig spectacle the venue suits them perfectly – the lighting is broody (well, it’s mainly blue). Allen, and drummer Caroline McKay stand in the middle in their own worlds, while Rab Allan (-Rabvegas’ on his guitar strap) and Paul Donoghue, the guitarists on either side, bracket the events with enough excitement and involvement of their own, often joining forces behind Allen. They put the boredom-peddlers on guitar in bands such as Editors and Bloc Party to shame – no lead-singer band is this.
Closing with an elevated -Daddy’s Gone’ Allen coaxes the audience into singing, ‘he’s gone, he’s gone’¦’ unaccompanied for a few bars before the band burst back in for the final act in the tune and leave us while we still want more. Apparently the writing has begun for the second album so while you still have a chance to test out the first-album-tour theory first hand, get some beers in, maybe a cocktail, and get down the front next time.
Glasvegas play the Roskilde festival on July 3, Oxegen on July 12 and support U2 in Croke Park, Dublin on July 24.
It is well advised to get in early to Croker to see the Scots play to the massive crowd. Whether you stay around for a long-touring Irish band with a weak new album is up to you.
Photos of the gig by Jakob Bekker Hansen.