Glasvegas at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut live review

'Euphoria sweeps the venue'

Photographer: Al De PerezGraeme Johnston on 31 March 2021

Local monochrome heroes Glasvegas step onto the tiny King Tut’s stage - Michael Jackson’s ‘Black or White’ playing them in - to thunderous applause, grins wide as they cross the threshold to their spiritual home. ‘Euphoria, Take My Hand’ is their electric opening gambit, the massive chorus practically bursting out from behind waves of clean, scintillating guitar.

Those iconic black stairs that lead into the heart of the infamous pub, charting the history of Glasgow’s favourite live venue – from Blur in ’93 through Radiohead, The Verve, Oasis, Calvin Harris, Pulp and The Killers – boast Glasvegas on their 2007 step. Now, Glasvegas are as good a fit for King Tut’s as Leo Messi is at the nearest five-a-sides complex, and ticket holders can feel rightly privileged. It’s all for a good cause: one of the seven Nights sessions for the Sunday Mail Centenary Fund, supporting Scottish charities.

Their opening salvo includes a new song surging with sorrow that puts the 300-strong crowd through the emotional wringer despite not knowing the howled, strained words, as well as favourite ‘It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry’. Drinking in the blur of joyful pandemonium in the throng, bassist Paul Donoghue can’t help but crack a smile and reveal he’s missing a tooth.

Earlier in the evening, Beatles tribute band and opening act The Savage Stage Bells – a familiar-looking four piece with Glaswegian accents, moptop wigs and Sergeant Pepper’s costumes – kicked things off with covers of ‘Help’, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ and ‘Twist & Shout’. In his yellow outfit, the frontman of the raw, energetic covers band bemoaned that “They’re saying I look like a fucking lollipop man,” to hysterics from the masses.

As their own set thunders on, Glasvegas thrill us with new tune ‘If’, ‘I Feel Wrong (Homosexuality Pt 1)’ – a beautiful, haunting ballad in support of the repressed – and the title track from their upcoming third album ‘Later… When The TV Turns To Static’.

Euphoria sweeps the venue. Surely only the insurers who capped this tiny, heaving venue at 300, well shy of tonight’s attendance, can be having anything other than the night of their lives. Allan’s clearly worked himself into a joyous frenzy as he stops, sweaty, to shed his leather jacket – but not the shades, obviously – and unleash more powerful anthems.

Before their next song, James Allan tells us he heard it in Eastenders last night: “That’s when you know you’ve made it!”

It’s no wonder their music is entering the mainstream so vividly when, like few others, they can so expertly mix bouncing rock fun for indie lads with reflective gothic misery, hurtling us through a gamut of life-affirming emotions. Walford’s tune of choice turns out to be the incredible ‘The World Is Yours’, the amazing refrain "Since my eyes saw yours, if I'm your world, then the world is yours” stinging the eyes of many amidst the masses.

Primal, maniacal drummer Jonna Löfgren shows her chilled side on keys for new single ‘I’d Rather Be Dead Than Be With You’, the ever-stunning ‘Flowers & Football Tops’ stops everyone in their tracks to contemplate the waste of a teenage life, epic favourite ‘Geraldine’ praises the unsung heroes of social work, before closer ‘Go Square Go’ leaves the intimate venue literally shaken to its bouncing core.

An acoustic encore of old rarity ‘Whitey’ sees the band pausing to praise their supporters, from fans to family, street team to T In The Park head honcho Geoff Ellis, laying low at the back of the crowd. Allan also extolled cousin and guitarist Rab for sharing 'Whitey’ and other songs online in the band’s early years, a move which lead to their popularity and fans singing the little-known song at gigs.

They sign off with brilliant airings of ‘Lots Sometimes’ and ‘Daddy’s Gone’, rounding off an exquisite performance that both demonstrates that they are still masters of working a crowd, no matter the size, and just why their incredible live performances have deservedly outgrown a venue like Tut’s.


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