2015 was another bumper year of live entertainment in Glasgow. One of the easiest parts of this was writing about my top five gigs, but before that could happen I had to select them. When you take into consideration the enormous pull of the Hydro for international bands it says a lot that the list below is topped by two bands who are relatively small fish in a huge pond. this just goes to show how high the standard is for up-and-coming bands in the UK and I am really excited for 2016. As far as 2015 went, here are my top five gigs of the year.
5. Foo Fighters – Murrayfield
Need I say more than Foo Fighters at Murrayfield? Massive band with a massive following playing a massive venue, what else can you expect from all that? Even a broken leg doesn’t stop Dave Grohl (…for long – this was a rearranged date) and as soon as he gets up on that stage, whether that be on his feet or on his arse, he knows how to conduct a crowd. From start to finish he had the crowd in his hands with a little friendly banter between each song, there was no rushing through the set to get on the plane to the next stop. You kind of almost believe Dave when he says you’re the best crowd in the world – almost. This was an extra memorable experience for me as along with all the hits and sing-alongs on the night they played ‘The Best of You’. A few weeks before the gig, a friend of mine from school had passed away after a long battle with MS and this was the song chosen by him, prior to his passing, to be played as the congregation left the building. It was a very emotional few minutes for me personally as I heard this song for the first time since that day and in a live setting this added a little more drama to it. I just hope David was able to enjoy the whole gig as much as I did from his “seat upstairs” but in my eyes, that song was just for him.
4. Slipknot – SSE Hydro
The Hydro is a massive cavern of sound. Sometimes that sound is audible in the most pleasurable way possible, others it’s a big drain on high end and a producer of very noticeable reverb and snap-back from the drums. The planets aligned in January for Slipknot’s appearance, with Korn in tow. The sound produced on that cold and miserable winter’s evening was beautiful, well as beautiful as Slipknot can sound really. A trip into my early twenties was complete with a lineup of top tracks like Duality and the incredible ‘Wait and Bleed’ as well as hits from the latest album 5: The Grey Chapter like ‘The Devil In I’ which made me feel young again as I jumped into of many pits on the go.
3. Muse – Barrowland Ballroom
I don’t think there was a hotter ticket in Glasgow than those up for grabs to see one of the biggest stadium bands on Earth play a relatively intimate show in what many believe is the best musical venue on the aforementioned planet. it turns out that the hype was not only matched but surpassed in a thrilling set that kicked of a number of classics intertwined with the few Drones hits, which at the time weren’t yet released. The crowd put the springy floor of that Barras to the test that night, bopping and jumping along to every note and scream directed at them by three likely lads from Middle-England. Even having a fresh pint of beer swiftly removed from my hand when the crowd rushed forward at the appearance of Bellamy et al couldn’t put a dampener on that night.
2. Vukovi – The Art School
As you probably know. There are times when you go along to a gig and are instantly transported to another dimension in which the band onstage are playing and singing just for you. I get that feeling pretty much everytime I see Vukovi and their set at The Glasgow Art School – a venue I was very impressed with – was no different from those before it. From the off, Vukovi make their gigs memorable with crunching riffs against a backdrop of silky low tones overlayed with the energetic vocals of leading lady Janine Shilstone who just emits all sorts of crazy exuberance as soon as she hits the stage. With footage being filmed for an upcoming video the whole band were in expert form to give a performance that was so close to being my number one for 2015.
1. Arcane Roots – King Tuts and Stereo
Having already been blessed with a set at King Tuts in March where they lifted the roof off the place, Arcane Roots fans were treated to another visit in November. This time at the small, but perfectly formed Stereo Cafe. Arcane Roots bring with them, not only intelligent lyrical content intertwined with quirky time signatures. Nope, what they also bring is an abundance of energy to their live show. Andrew, Adam and (new’ish drummer) Jack leave every ounce of energy and ability out there on the stage for everyone in attendance to share – soaking this one up and forming a gig memory that will take something special to beat in the years to come. This is one live band who lives up to a exceeds its billing. If you do get a chance to go along and catch them play near you, do it, you will not regret it!