Glasvegas – The Old Market, Hove – 13th October 2018

Photo by Jamie MacMillan

Album anniversary shows, hey? Always there to bring one or two emotions along, either of fond reminders of a glorious past, or as a shocking realisation of “Has it really been that long?” Tonight at The Old Market, Glasvegas managed both. Ten years have passed since their eponymous Mercury-nominated debut record reached number two in the UK Album Charts, their fuzzy rock sounds and aesthetics striking a chord with indie fans who were looking for something a little darker.

Their light burned exceptionally brightly with a cold fire, before they seemed to disappear just as quickly as they arrived. Of course, the story is more complicated than that – they may not have released anything for five years, but the passion and love that their fanbase had for them has not diminished in the slightest.

Tonight, playing their entire album from beginning to end, the years were rolled back to reveal a record that still glistens with a power and potency. The heartbreaking ‘Flowers and Football Tops’ remains a raw and emotionally-wrought entry to their world. The tale of a young son who never returned home one day, this rendition was made even more emotional by a deafening chorus from a crowd who have been plainly desperate for the Glasgow band’s return for as long as they’ve been away.

Following the album track-listing, the night is front loaded with stone-cold classics. ‘Geraldine’ and ‘It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry’ follow, showcasing the power that this band still contain. Drummer Jonna Löfgren powers the latter track on, while Rab Allan (guitar) and Paul Donoghue (bass) spin and drive the music onwards. In the centre of the stage, all eyes are on James Allan. Always the focal point both on and off-stage, tonight he is merely the ringleader – at several points, the crowd overtakes him with the singing, leading him to turn the mic round to face the room.

‘Go Square Go’ is as electrifying as ever, the refrain of: “Here we, here we, here we fucking go” bringing the already-passionate crowd to new levels. The whole band are grinning throughout, James staring at the room at points with a bemused look on his face as if he can’t quite believe that we (or even he) is still here for these tracks. ‘Daddy’s Gone’ is the high point, sweat flying from the band on a balmy October night – though ‘Stabbed’ doesn’t quite click as a live moment, its power and fearful emotion slightly diminished in this setting.

Even fitting a marriage proposal from a member of the crowd into the encore, (James joking afterwards, “Right, time for ‘Fuck You, It’s Over’”), there was time for a handful of other non-debut favourites including a glorious, climactic rendition of ‘Lot’s Sometimes’. Whatever the future holds for Glasvegas, should they choose to return to the studio or whether this will mark a fond farewell, this was a night to remember for the next ten years and more.

Jamie MacMillan

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