Pulling in to Glasgow on Wednesday night for the second night of the fantastic value Jagermeister tour, were Black Spiders, Therapy? and Skindred. Playing with the touring bands we also had local band Yashin.
For the rest of the tour Black Spiders were on second – after the local band – but for some inexplicable reason, they were on first tonight and excruciatingly early. Black Spiders drummer looks like the bastard son of Travis Barker, and at times plays almost as frenetically. Black Spiders are a bit like Marmite to most, personally I really like them. I’ve seen them a handful of times over the years and really like their album and EPs.
Live they sound rawer, a bit less polished and in places not quite as good. But there is no denying their ability, songwriting or downright enthusiasm. Tonight was another strong performance which definitely kept them in the “must keep going to see” category.
Local band Yashin must have pulled some blinder to get their slot moved up the bill. It’s a shame as to be honest they weren’t so good, and didn’t go down that well with large portions of the crowd. Sounding like a poor Enter Shikari and looking like a New Look Lostprophets, the most amazing thing they did onstage was squeeze a fat guy in to skinny jeans!! Couple that with one singer screaming, the other singing ‘clean vocals’ and the end result was shite. The boos from the crowd between songs proved I wasn’t alone in my view.
I remember Therapy? forming and unbelievably I’ve never seen them live over all those years. Mainly because I didn’t ever really like them much more than a passing “hum-along” when I heard one of their songs. Tonight though, they exploded on stage, their drummer whacking out beats like a machine from the beginning sounds of opener Teethgrinder. Tight is not a strong enough word for the performance tonight. Every song was executed with precision and they were a joy to watch.
Frontman Andy Cairns always bugged me, which I suppose helped fuel my apparent dislike for the band. I can’t justify it, just something about his photos in magazines put me off the band. But actually I was so wrong. He is brilliant onstage, a real charismatic Irishman. Perhaps it was teenage me didn’t like his persona, but mid-30s me found him humorous and his mid-life attitude appealed to mine more than ever before.
Saying early on that they only had 40 minutes meant Therapy? tore through their set. I recognised many but didn’t know all the tracks but that detracted not one bit. Bringing their local friend Lesley (didn’t catch her other name) on stage to sing duet vocals for ‘Living In The Shadow of a Terrible Thing’ four from end, and finishing with a Teenage kicks intro for ‘Screamager’ brought the set to a great end.
Like Black Spiders, I’ve seen Skindred seen many times from Sonisphere, to Ozzfest and even seen them in this very venue supporting Rob Zombie. Tonight they fall foul of the O2 Academy sounding fucking horrific. The sound had been more than a little ropey throughout, as it often is in this venue, however when Skindred hit the stage with their heavy-bass and overlaid samples the overall sound was an indecipherable wall of noise, not a good, face-melting wall of sound!
At times samples would kick in so loud and over power everything else, at other times the individuality of the music became lost in one big song. Such a shame. A great band struggling to keep a crowd interested when it normally comes so easily for them. There are points during the show where the usually enigmatic Benji seems frustrated and berates the crowd for their lack of enthusiasm and reaction. If only he knew it was because the acoustics in the venue once again robbed Glasgow of a great night.
Skindred it wasn’t you, it was us (well, the Academy). Why did they move the concert to this venue from the rather brilliant O2 ABC only to then spend the remaining weeks heavily trying to (and failing) to sell many more tickets? Two hours before the show Facebook and Twitter pages for the venue were alive with links and persuasion to buy tickets. Bands had even offered guest list spaces for people who got in touch. They could easily have filled the O2 ABC with the crowd who did turn up, and we would all have had a much better time with acoustics which the bands deserved.
Given that the O2 Academy has stolen much of the touring ‘business’ from one of Glasgow’s (and the UK’s) most famous, legendary venues it is almost criminal the sound which fee-paying punters are then rewarded with. Thankfully tonight cost £5 and was more than worth it, but with average ticket prices over £30 for this venue we deserve better. Much better.
UPDATE: Originally this article suggested that Yashin’s vocalist sung in a faux-American accent. It has been pointed out to us that although the band hail from Greenock, Scotland their replacement singer Harry is in fact American. In the interest of integrity we have updated the article to remove the comment. However, it should be noted that whether real of faux made no difference to the overall sound or response from the crowd on the night.