The Subways are back with new album Money and Celebrity and are on the promotional tour hitting relatively small venues across the UK.
The Glasgow date, supported by local band Young Aviators and Welsh lads Straight Lines, took place at Oran Mor which is one of the city’s popular venues in the student part of town. Strangely it was somewhere I’d never been to until now, so I was quite looking forward to visiting. Thankfully I can safely say the venue is cracking, although the 10pm curfew for the gig was a bit disappointing. But I didn’t go there to check out the architecture, so on to the bands!
Support slots were decent enough with Young Aviators rocking the few people who’d dared to turn up early enough. They were pretty good and I’ll look forward to hearing more in the future, no doubt in other support slots. Truth be told, my secondary reason for attending this gig was to see Straight Lines. I’m loathe to criticise as I think they’re a great up and coming band, but there was just something missing from the night’s performance. Despite there being at least triple the number of people in the room at this point, they just couldn’t seem to get the crowd engaged at all. I don’t think it was really due to lack of effort on their part, but taking the opportunity to test out new songs with odd timings might not have been the best plan. I also felt that the overall sound let them down with a bit too much guitar and not enough vocal.
The Subways however, had no such problems with either crowd response or sound. The room had filled up really quickly in the quiet space between bands, and when they came on stage around 9pm the atmosphere was electric and they were greeted with a hugely warm cheer from the audience. Singer and guitarist Billy and drummer Josh got a cheer, but it was diminutive cute blonde bassist Charlotte that got the loudest (and leeriest) cheers of them all. I wonder why….
Now I like The Subways, though not being a huge fan though I hadn’t seem live before. I’m not sure why, but despite the rocking-ness of some of the music I wasn’t really expecting a high energy performance. I’m pleased to say I couldn’t have been more wrong. Both Billy and Charlotte constantly jumped around on stage like they were wearing spring-loaded shoes. Billy has a charisma and stage presence that’s truly incredible to behold and despite the Charlotte-factor, he still managed to have the crowd eating out of his hands for the entire performance. He’s also physically bigger than I’d thought, which probably helps with the attention commanding personality, but he never had an arrogance that can alienate an audience.
The setlist was a good mix of the old and new from the 3 album catalogue with good emphasis on some of the new tracks. Special mention has to go to “I Wanna Dance With You”, which my mate can’t stand and they played live for the first time. Good times! Sound was sharp and clear in stark contrast to the support, with good crisp vocal’s whether singing or chatting to the crowd. When left on her own Charlotte’s voice was a bit on the shrill side, but worked well when combined with Billy’s vocal. He had some really good shout moments too as he gave it all from song to song.
Old and new alike though, all songs were played with a passion and energy that was brilliant to watch. During finale track “It’s A Party” there was a great moment where the roars of the crowd seemed to overcome Billy as he stopped the song for an impromptu second time and held a cheer-off between sides of the room and a Freddie Mercury like raised/lowered arms – cheer on/cheer off – moment. The crowd was utterly transfixed and clearly everyone in the room – band included – were absolutely loving it.
Although they did run over time a little, it was a real shame that they were only allowed to play for an hour before everyone was turfed out and the venue was turned into a nightclub. I’d love to have seen more and shall definitely be keeping an eye out for a return visit.