TVD Live Shots: Glasvegas at the
Garage, 2/9

Seeing Glasvegas live is like a religious experience. It’s mesmerizing, it’s haunting, it’s a surreal wall of sound that proves there is a god of noise pop.

They are one of the few bands to emerge over the past decade who have a sound that is all their own. The best way to describe them is that they fall somewhere between The Clash, Elvis, and The Ronettes with an over-the-top, modernized Phil Spector-type production. It’s a new level of sonic achievement, and it gave birth to one of the best debut albums of all time, in my opinion. 2008’s self-titled debut Glasvegas catapulted the Scottish indie rock band into the limelight where they dominated the UK scene, going platinum and winning the coveted Mercury Prize.

They have it all, the look, the name, the critics’ praise, and most importantly, the songs to back it all up. The media called them “too good to be true,” “the quintessential noise-pop set of the modern age,” and my favorite quote, “a gut-punch of a debut, and one that makes you believe Glasvegas is one of those rare, rare bands who might just have that perfect record in them.” Another critic his called it “their Definitely Maybe.”

While global domination didn’t happen as planned, it wasn’t due to a lack of trying. Columbia Records put their muscle behind the band in the US. Still, it quickly became apparent that the US audience wasn’t quite ready to embrace Glasvegas at a sustainable level. Another casualty of the “why the fuck doesn’t the rest of the world get it?” scenario. 

There’s always the next album. Their sophomore release, Euphoric Heartbreak fell upon a classic situation as the major label that swooped the band up during their meteoric rise gave up too soon with no idea how to market the slightly new direction. This pivot would see them part ways with their major label and seemingly put the brakes on the future. I think it’s safe to say that anytime you hear the phrase “a marked departure from the debut album,” it moves from a working formula to a calculated risk that rarely works out, and sees the band “return to form” with a later album. That album would be Later When the TV Turns to Static.

But hey! Enough about the past. Fast forward to 2022, and Glasvegas are on their own, calling their own shots, and have possibly delivered that “perfect record” that was predicted almost a decade earlier. James Allan has taken complete control with the songwriting, the recording, producing, and mixing; he’s done it all. Godspeed doesn’t necessarily have the hooks and breakthrough potential of their debut, but I don’t think it’s meant to. It’s a profoundly personal record with not only a very compelling backstory as to its creation, but the inspiration and approach to the stories that make up each song. If you are willing to spend the time here, it’s incredibly rewarding.

This would be my third time seeing Glasvegas. I saw them years ago on their debut run across the States and again in 2018 at Heaven. Both shows were brilliant, and this time at the Garage would be no exception. The set was split evenly between the debut and the latest, with five songs from each. The classics sounded better than ever; they absolutely do not age a bit. The new songs showcased the evolution of the band. Standouts for me were the set opener “Dive,” and “In My Mind” from the latest.

But it was “It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry,” which was the defining moment closing the set. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd so entranced—although it may have been the booze, I think they could have played this song for an hour straight. Surprisingly though, one of my favorites was missing. “Flowers and Football Tops” didn’t make the cut. I thought it was coming, but it turned into an acoustic version of The Ronettes classic “Be My Baby” with the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs. All in all, a brilliant night for a stellar band. I can’t wait to see it again.

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