Live Review: Glasvegas @ the Bluebird TheaterBy Jeremy Meyer | April 13th, 2009 | No Comments »
When the “Best New Band in Britain” plays a tiny Denver club, you’d expect a crowd, legions of band-wagoneers and perhaps even a bit of hysteria. But that did not happen when Glasvegas, a Scottish quartet with a punny name, played the Bluebird Theater last week.
The group pulled into the Bluebird Theater on a chilly Thursday evening to play before a loosely filled club, while down the street Conor Oberst played to a houseful of hipsters at the Ogden. Granted, there were some Glasvegas worshippers, mouthing the band’s impassioned lyrics and hoisting pints to the songs that quickly get embedded in your brain. But this reviewer expected more — the buzz of the next big thing and not what felt like a contrived retro experience.
The band’s music is catchy, poppy with simplistic beats and a bit shoe-gazy with a Phil Spector-esque wall of sound. Songs are impassioned stories of family drama, death and jealousy. Wearing all black, the group’s members strike the right poses. James Allan looks just like a young Joe Strummer.
But their Jesus and Mary Chain guitar fuzz and Motown beats seemed all too familiar. Even the band’s T-shirts with block letters brought back the 1980s. It’s hard to knock a band that is doing all the right things — playing flawlessly and tight. But there seemed to be a lack of passion behind the wash of white noise, too little art and too much calculation.
The set, including an encore, lasted less than an hour — from the anthemic “Geraldine” to the heartbreaking “Daddy’s Gone.” Nevertheless, Allan could be a star. He plays an expert showman, pounding his chest to show his heartfelt appreciation… especially when the audience took over singing the lyrics to “Daddy’s Gone.”
Glasvegas may indeed be big some day. They may also be the next Arctic Monkeys.
Jeremy Meyer is a Denver Post staff writer and regular Reverb contributor.
Chandra Carney is a Denver freelance photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.
MORE PHOTOS: Von Iva