Alien Ant Farm @ The Garage, Glasgow. 07 Jan 16

Well it has been a long time since Alien Ant Farm have visited this fair city that is for sure. This is a sold out show, so are we going to see a show that will keep the legacy going, or is it just another washed up band going through the motions, getting the money in and moving on? Read on to find out.

First things first here. For me, this is the first gig of the year, and about time too, I have been going stir crazy. It is also the first gig after the sad news that we lost a rock legend, so for tonight, before I even think about the gig, there are a few things to do… black jeans, check. Cowboy boots, check. Motorhead t-shirt, check. This one is for you Lemmy (and a special shout out to all you people at the gig thinking along the same lines).

First up tonight is one of my favourite up and coming British bands, The Dirty Youth. A cracking live band that I managed to catch twice last year in support of Fozzy, and the very next band on stage tonight. Both times they blew me away. I bought both their albums at the Fozzy gig, and they have been a constant companion ever since.

They are serious on stage, but little party animals as soon as they leave the spotlights. They were on very early tonight, but the venue was already bustling, which I was glad to see, but very unusual in this town. The crowd response at first was very luke warm (I will go into the reason for this later), and when Danni asked who had seen them live before there were only about five hands in the air other than mine to be seen. It was however, a great opportunity for them to show off their cool, upbeat songs…. and obviously for Danni to show off her new sparkly Christmas outfit!

The drawback for me tonight was the sound. It was the worst I had heard them, but they took no prisoners and gave it their all. The set was, as always, way too short for me, which means I miss out on a whole raft of my favourite songs, but I can notch up my third viewing and hope that one day that little black van is pulling up outside a Glasgow venue that has their name above the door, instead of someone else’s.

The crowd did eventually come around (I promise I was not threatening violence in any way, officer), especially for “The One”, which I can only describe as a fucked up dance song… fucked up by rock, that is. It found Danni with a new prop, a mini mic stand… I was nearly ready to shout “Freddie owned that” when she clicks on the searchlight inside. Sound aside tonight, this is a band to watch out for. If you are going to this tour please get there early and catch these guys, then make your way to the merch stand and shell out any cash you have left from Christmas…. they will be there, beer in hand, and happy to sign and take selfies.

“Inme” are going through a bit of a resurgence as of late. Again, this is my third viewing of the band in the last year, although the previous two were headliners, albeit in a slightly smaller venue. It is a band I had lost touch with over the years, as you can see from my previous review HERE.

They were a great band back in the day, young, naive, and bloody talented. Today they are more hardened, more follically challenged (sigh, it happens to the best of us), but a much more complete and rounded live animal. To think this band is 20 years old this year is scary. I was still young then (okay, maybe not 14 years old like some of the original band) and I loved “Overgrown Eden” when it came out. It was such a breath of fresh air at the time. New, full of vitality, and just plain different. I managed to see the last tour which saw this album and “White Butterfly” in their entirety, so there was no way tonight’s show was ever going to top that, but it was still a great show from these veterans (ha ha… they are still way younger than me).

They got a great response from the crowd tonight, and I reckon there was a fair few tickets sold off the back of them alone. I reckon there was a good crossover from Alien Ant Farm fans, as they would definitely be aware of the band and the frenzy cranked up to overdose levels when “Underdose” came on. A great band, and if anyone deserves a shot at this again, it is them.

Now before I get to the Alien Ant Farm set I need to say what I touched on earlier… the reason that some people may not have even heard of The Dirty Youth. I may get slated for this, but I have to get this off my chest, or I may burst. Although I had no problem picking a t-shirt to wear tonight, a good portion of the crowd did. A lot settled on Primark specials or the good old faithful check shirt… what did this mean? Mingling among the well-versed, regular gig goers, there were a lot of people who were reliving their youth, a lot of twenty-something people who you could tell had not attended a live rock show in a long time (if ever). I cannot decide if this is a good thing or not. Hopefully they appreciated what they witnessed tonight and be seen a bit more often in the future. That aside, there was no doubt who they were here to see, and they were intent in enjoying it, that is for sure.

There was no beating around the bush with Alien Ant Farm as they broke into “Courage” and played debut ‘ANThology’ in its entirety (minus one song… Mmm, I wonder what that could be?). This made for a great start, as you know exactly where you stand and you get a classic that is “Movies” within two songs. I am sure it also helped those ‘newbies’, as I am sure they were, listening to it again last night.

As much as I may be joking around, you cannot take anything away from that album. It sold in abundance and as the songs play you know the words off pat. Hey, you can even see the videos running through your head, as you watched them so often on MTV. It is brilliant to see it played from start to finish.

I will be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this show tonight. I had not seen the band play since early 2000s. I was agog when they were given the headliner spot at Download, and I did think it was just a money making venture, but I was very, very wrong. The first thing that struck me was Dryden’s vocals, they were completely on the money. The pitch, the tone, and there was heart in this performance. He looked as if he was enjoying himself. He had anecdotes aplenty from genital mutilation, his cool guitar pick with John Candy on them… Uncle Pluck (groan, but have to admit I did laugh), and his very touching thanks to his mother on her favourite song “ Attitude”, which for me was the second best song of the night. The crowd were immense on this track, and personally it has a strong message for me.

I have to comment on the rest of the band, as this is one tight outfit live. They definitely had the best sound of all three bands (I would expect no less), but every member played their piece to ensure a fantastic gig, and a great start to 2016.

When “Universe” finishes the band leave the stage to huge applause… and yes people are actually asking each other if the gig is over (insert expletive here), but ta-dah… back they come, and we get treated to lesser known “Glow” and “Goodbye”, which would be a great finisher, if it was not for that elusive track….oh, okay, I will say it as it is time for her to come out of the box. “Smooth Criminal” rings round the four sweat dripping walls and that is it, the crowd go bat shit crazy. Those video memories flicker behind your eyes and the mobiles are out in there hundreds (palm slap, palm slap) but this is what a lot of people were waiting for and they were not disappointed as it was note perfect and joyful.

So there you have it… Alien Ant Farm are relevant again. If they can put on a performance like tonight and sell out this venue on a cold, wet Thursday, when nobody has any money, who am I to say any different? I thoroughly enjoyed this revisit to an album that has been played to death by me. I will be awaiting their return and hopefully to a bigger venue with more new tunes.

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Images and review Ritchie Birnie


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