Glasvegas - London Garage, 8th December, 2012

Glasvegas – London Garage, 8th December, 2012

Euphoria Take My Hand is the perfect opener. James Allan sings the first few words acapella before the shimmering guitar lick kicks in, and Jonna stands and pounds the drums with aplomb. Immediately we’re soaring on a high.

A vivid feature of Glasvegas was their drummer Caroline McKay and her uncomplicated but powerful style. Reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain when Bobby Gillespie was on beats, the simple approach heightened rather than lessened the underpinning rhythm. There was something more honest as well as energetic about the workmanship (neé, workwomanship) too. It was absolutely fascinating to watch.

I was at pains to see how Glasvegas worked live with their new drummer, Jonna Lofgren, when I last saw them a year ago, amidst the clouding spotlights. Tonight, I am third row and can clearly see what a star Jonna is: it’s not James in obtuse black shades indoors tonight, it’s Jonna. And it’s not James that’s got the awe of my focus throughout, it’s Jonna. She cuts a dramatic figure, all in black, assymetric hair, sunglasses that never slide off her nose no matter the ferocity of her playing – and her playing provides all the slowing down and racing of the heart; all the song climaxes. It’s laid bare best when her drumming is pared down for SAD Light. Even when the pace is frantic, she is as cool as the climes of her Scandinavian origins.

But of course James is still revered, and it’s his singing and emotion in the songs that have secured the fervent following. It becomes apparent that the last album resides as much in people’s hearts as the precedent-setting first. The reaction to Lots Sometimes is pure proof – it takes me by surprise just how much mosh-happy, sing-along approval it gets. Live, the song really lives it up, with much more bluster. The new songs are received with clamour too. All I Want My Baby is instantly melodic – you only need hear it once to realise it will be an important song on the new album. The lyrics seem to be summing up recent times, balking at money worries, when all that’s really crucial is having your baby. It’s a simple sentiment, but with that catchiness, they can get away with it.

Geraldine and Daddy are welcome hits of pop chorusing, as ever. But it’s Go Square Go that is the highlight. Perhaps there is a contingent of football fans present, following on from the local match that was on in earlier in the day. We are in Highbury. The chant of the chorus has never sounded more like a football match anthem, and it’s as though we’re waiting in the stands. Even as someone none too keen on football, I find myself chanting along, and choked. It’s a brilliant moment.

I was expecting a run of songs from the band’s Christmas album, given the timing. It would’ve been a treat to hear A Snow Flake Fell (And it Felt Like a Kiss), and it would’ve been really apt since we did get snow soon after. But we only get a round of Cruel Moon. There is a really round glowing moon tonight too.

No shower of shower of snowflakes, or storm of Christmassy glitter, but we’re content enough with this intimate gig from a band who still matter – and who still have the adeptness to sing sad songs with euphoria like no other.


Euphoria, Take My Hand

The World Is Yours

It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry


Please Come Back Home

Cruel Moon

Flowers & Football Tops

All I Want Is My Baby

SAD Light

Lots Sometimes


Ice Cream Van

Go Square Go

I’d Rather Be Dead Than Be With You

Daddy’s Gone

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