As far as music and clubs are concerned, Glasgow has always been a massive cultural hub with places like SubClub, Sleazy’s and the legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut so there is no shortage of fantastic shows year-round.
DJ Seinfeld and DJ Boring
DJ Seinfeld and DJ Boring made brilliant appearances at SubClub this year, showing off their own signature brands of the current house scene. DJ Seinfeld has made a gargantuan name for himself over the last year or so. Since his fantastic set in Glasgow he has made appearances on BBC radio stations, countless venues and festivals across the globe, released DJ Kicks a compilation of some of his favourite artists and continued to tour and travel all year. Seinfeld’s songs are all very intimate and emotive with titles such as “How U Make Me Feel” and “Too Late for U and M1.” DJ Boring has also established himself firmly within the house scene; his hit “Winona” has gained over four million views on YouTube and, like Seinfeld, has made appearances across festivals, radio shows and venues globally. The kicked off like an angry NFL player this year with names like RossFromFriends showing up in Glasgow soon, Seinfeld and Boring, Baltra, Mall Grab – house is back.
With it being my first time in SubClub, I really did not know what to expect from the place. As my friend and I stepped in and ordered a drink, the place was barren bar us, we were early. We sat in wait until the clubbers, dancers and monsters came trickling in, our own excitement building. The opening acts were a sign of what was to come as music and moves flooded the floors.
Soon enough, Armand himself stepped behind the decks and started with some of his newer releases from his album Time Spent Away From U, which came out just four months earlier. With each song the hours seemed just to fly by in a haze of dancing, cheering and thumping kicks & claps. The light show blared on behind the little counter from which he played, glaring and gleaming, building such a personal atmosphere with Seinfeld’s romantic style of modern house.
The gig sadly came to an end – I was lucky enough to give him a little appreciation and snap a picture before everyone had poured out.
Boring’s appearance, while similar, felt even more romantic. “Date Night with DJ Boring” kicked off beautifully with little clusters of roses laid on every table, dim candles illuminating the seats and DJ Boring himself laying out his ambient audible armour. Another fantastic light show accompanied him behind that famous desk downstairs. Whilst I much prefer DJ Seinfeld, personally, Boring delivered Glasgow a simply brilliant set.
8/10 and 7/10 respectively.
Death Grips made another appearance in Glasgow this year after their last nearly inaudible show at SWG3. This time bringing the noise to a larger venue at the Barrowland Ballroom, there was no shortage of busted eardrums, mosh pits and simply gargantuan walls of noise. They kicked off this audible assault with their classic track “Beware” and the entire crowd was bouncing and pushing and shoving. Despite there being more room overall for the noise to bounce out and to catch your breath, the crowd was still pretty lively. Most of the group I was with disappeared into the crowd for the most part of the gig as I was slammed around and maneuvered my way to and from the bar. Even at the side of the venue, at least 50 feet from the actual stage I could barely hear a thing as the drums, vocals and samples pounded against the walls. An enormous buzz was present from the queue outside until everybody went home. Admittedly less loud and rowdy than the SWG3 gig, it was still a fantastic show of audio and visuals.
SWG3 – 8.5/10
Barrowland – 7/10
In celebration of the twenty year anniversary of the release of “Bring It On,” Gomez brought their Mexico-inspired magic to Glasgow. This gig was also at the Barrowland Ballroom and I was lucky enough to be front and centre for the entirety. Another properly intimate set as they played through both “Bring It On” and “Liquid Skin.” Their beautiful, soulful flavour of strange indie brought a sense of wonder across the crowd. They still sound and feel exactly the same as they did on the albums twenty years ago with every bit of crazy song writing and making, character-filled vocals and almost Mexican/salsa inspired playing shining through perfectly.
The Orb played a marvellous set at this year’s Paisley Spree festival. Set up in a Victorian circus tent and feeling like I was inside a carousel, a really warm feeling gig kicked off. The lights were soft and suiting for the ambience that The Orb are so famous for creating, with two large, flat screen TV’s either side of the stage blasting insane visuals of clips of towns and cities, kaleidoscopic effects and their own fantastic logo. Their weird blend of dub, ambient, sampling and electronica left the crowd in a warm little cloud as people across the almost freakish but perfect tent danced and swayed and drank as our two DJ’s blasted the bass from the front. An oddball gig but a fantastic one – retro ambient dance for everyone.
The kings of rave brought their brutal walls of dance music to the SEC Centre in Glasgow this year. The Prodigy have not aged a bit – at least their music and ability to pierce eardrums has not. Another gig full of genuine walls of noise and growling, brutal mosh pits. Even my glasses suffered, being knocked from my face more times than I had bought drinks and getting bent out of shape. Again, I lost my friend to the whirlpool crowd as I was battered by the sounds and the people, being flung left and right while staying on my feet and feeling the beat. The lights and visuals at this gig were simply outstanding. Two enormous London buses were present on stage the whole time as the strobes and lights screamed around the venue.
Acid Mother’s Temple
One more noise infested gig I got to attend was the Japan noise-psych band of genius Kawabata Makoto – Acid Mother’s Temple. This one was in the basement of Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s so, like the SWG3 Death Grips gig, all of that fuzz, synth and guitar abuse was crammed into the tiny room filled with people throwing their heads around as if their life depended on it.
I was starstruck when I spotted Makoto at the side of the stage before their set and managed to get a couple of pictures with him and my friend. They blasted the crowd with enormous synthesiser noises, a strange Russian instrument that I couldn’t identify and Makoto’s signature black Strat: a beautiful sight behold as he went at the neck with drumsticks, launched into blaring solos, kept a healthy rhythm for the rest of the band to work with and, as a collective, almost shook the place to bits.
Kurt Vile showed his luscious mane at SWG3 this year with his lovely indie-folk music. The friendly feeling of the gig was due mostly to his music but also his generally friendly personality, giving a few whoops ‘n’ hollers between songs as any country musician would do. With the recent release of his new album “Bottle It In” he laid out plenty of songs from that and a few of his biggest tracks released through his career, a very healthy mix of music coming from him. SWG3 housed him perfectly, a change of venue from what was supposed to be a gig at the O2, with an arsenal of absolutely gorgeous guitars, vintage basses, a smashing drum kit and vintage keyboard, Kurt gave Glasgow that blues and country inspired indie feeling that the people came for.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Lastly for this year I managed to catch Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s last gig of his tour. For a guy that makes mostly very relaxed, slightly jazzy music this gig was incredibly noisy. He had some fantastically strange guitars and gear with him on stage with a massive shaggy rug laid out across the floor of the stage. The light show here was crazy, completely in tune with his playing and soloing as he came in and out of the crowd and, clearly, genuinely enjoyed himself.
A few honourable mentions of gigs I sadly missed this year:
Courtney Barnett, playing shortly after Kurt
Tera Melos, a personal favourite of mine and a missed gig I will NEVER forgive myself for
Don’t forget: Support the bands you love – buy merch and tickets!