Review: Altered Sky – Acoustic Album Tour, Glasgow Pulp

We recently had the chance to see and speak to Altered Sky on their “Bury it All” tour, and we very impressed, so we were more than happy to receive an invite to this full acoustic set, showcasing their new album” Without Wonderland”, for the first time ever, to a rather excited Glasgow audience. What did we make of it? Well don’t be lazy reading a quick heading, scroll down.

The setting for this, and every show on this 7 date tour, is girl’s clothing shop Pulp. Now we won’t go into the fact I was nearly late as I could not find it, that the majority of stock in the shop would not go over my calf, or that I got a bit uncomfortable being in a girls clothes shop for an hour. Well, both my daughters are grown up now, and I have no need to go there, but although it flooded me with memories of hanging around waiting for said children to try on everything imaginable, it was a good feeling walking out knowing my wallet still had the same weight as when I entered.
Joking aside, you have to hand it to the shop for accommodating this tour, they are either staying open late or closing the stores during opening times, so well done to them for supporting this young band on their way to making it. I am sure they will endorse you long into the future.
I am standing at the back of the throng of fans, who are getting a bit jittery, before the band stroll out from the back and take to their seats. As I am watching, I have a little chuckle to myself as the surge forward from everyone reminded me of a zombie attack from a detention class at a college campus, but not to worry, as Ana feels the mounting attack, and calmly asks one and all to sit down, and the bums hit the floor pronto, now making it look like a very messy sleepover.
I do have to hand it to these guys, as they toured, pre album, on the strength of their single, and they are now doing this tour a full three months before the album’s release. Not only that, they then stick in the fact they are doing it all acoustic. The band and their delightfully sexy (sorry sir) manager have a real belief in their talents, and there seems to be no end to what they can achieve with the work ethic they have. Now for me personally, I love seeing an acoustic set, and I am lucky to have seen a fair few over the last few years from some of my idols, when I was the age of most of the audience tonight. There is nothing like seeing a song stripped back, soul bared, unable to hide behind the rows of amps and the crash of the bass and drums. I do not have much love for MTV anymore, but I am thankful for the MTV Unplugged series that kind of started a niche, and opened bands to playing different versions of the most beloved of their songs.
Again, a hats off to these guys, as when I see or hear an acoustic song, I usually know that song inside out from the first guitar string struck to the last smash of a cymbal, so the fact the guys are playing this where the audience have minimal exposure is very gutsy, to say the least, but as the guys sit down and tune the guitars, you can tell they are completely comfortable with the tracks being played in this form….well apart from Ana… I think she must have had Velcro on her butt to keep her sitting down for an hour. The woman is a little dynamo live and never standing still, so this part must have been a little difficult.
As Ana introduces the band (call Richard anything? I am tempted ha ha), and explains the tour and upcoming album release along with the sneaky “you can pre order it today”, I think over the whole acoustic thing, they are always classed as an intimate thing, and today that feels even more prominent. It could be the small shop, or the fact that it is a wristband only event, but to me it came across as a real leveller, as both the band and the audience seemed so very naïve, a sort of ‘we are doing this altogether for the first time. I really hope you like it’. I reckon there was a real bond created today, as it will be throughout the tour, and the audience are now in the palm of the band’s hands for many, many a year.
The set starts with “Apple Tree”, which has been about for a while. You can find the video on YouTube, and the context of the song is pretty much evident in every club and bar in the country. “Stupid In The Dark” is next up, and anyone who read our recent live review will know that they played this song as an encore at the show and no matter what you call it, it will always be ‘stripping in the dark’ to me… it is stuck now. I really enjoyed the live version, but the acoustic gave it a new focus and a great feel.
“This War Is Mine” was one of my favourites of the whole set. It just stuck with me after the show, and the lyrics will resonate with a great deal of the fans, not to mention a large part of the public in general. As Ana introduces “White Witch”, she lets us know it is based on the character in the Narnia books, which very few people would not be aware of. It’s a nice touch to go over the creation of the songs in this close atmosphere, the fans take it all in, and for me, it was like a visual recreation of trawling through magazines for those interviews with your favourite bands back in the day (yes children, we had no internet).
As the set progresses, and to be fair, time just flew by, I take time and focus on each individual, from Richard being so comfortable with the songs that he can point out my camera oversights, to Amy, who does not have her drum kit to hide behind, she only has a cymbal, and what looks to me like a dwarf’s maracas (minus the handle) or something no lady wants you to find in her handbag. She has a lovely voice, which accompanies Ana so well. Ross is just a badass. He does his thing, and smiles the whole time, which leaves the new boy, Ryan, head down in his acoustic, and playing for all he is worth. If you ask me the head down was just to show off that lovely hair with not a single strand out of place.
The band finish off with “Bury it all”, which being the current single, gives everyone the free reign to sing their hearts out and close the set off in style. As the band mingle with the fans, signing autographs and taking selfies like a demented Nicola Sturgeon, I have a wry smile to myself, and realise I witnessed something very special today, something I feel will not sink in for the fans present today for a long time. I have had this realisation many, many times in all my years where this music has been my life. When you are at the beginning of a band’s life, when they break out of the small clubs, and end up treading the boards of the biggest stages. There is a huge sense of pride and a massive dose of  “I was there”.
Apple tree
Stupid in the dark
This war is mine
White witch
Imagine Adventure
Live for it
Bury it all
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”24″ gal_title=”Altered Sky @ Pulp”] Review and pics: Ritchie Birnie

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