Review: Gun – Barrowland, Glasgow 18 Dec 15
Gun/King King – Barrowland, Glasgow 18 Dec 15
Last gig of the year for me, King King and Gun, so we all gather at the iconic Glasgow Barrowland. That may sound simple but tonight is Black Friday in Glasgow, this is nothing to do with sales… it is more like a drunken zombie apocalypse. It definitely feels like it by the time I fought through the drunken hordes to get here. Tonight is going to get messy.
Half of my friends will read this and the rest will be going oh no, he is on his King King high horse again. I have been shouting about these guys for some time now. I seriously rated their album ”Reaching For The Light” as one of the best of 2015, and as a live band you will see no better a blues/rock band if your tried.
I got the chance to interview singer/guitarist Alan Nimmo earlier this night (interview to follow so keep an eye on DGM TV), and I was well aware tonight was a massive night for them. It sees them supporting a band that were their idols, and Alan’s first ever gig as a fan in this same hall. It was for these reasons (and all the other bands from all genres that have played the stage under the stars) that the heartbeat must have been that bit quicker prior to taking the stage.
You could never tell there were any nerves tonight, but with the amount of gigs this band play together, it wasn’t surprising. They are a family of brothers, and talking of family and brothers, the guitar tech tonight is none other than Stevie Nimmo. It seems there are no heirs and graces (or nights off) with these guys.
As they took to the stage, there were still a good few spaces in the crowd, but luckily they were filled out well before the end of the set. The crowd were a bit quiet to start with, I reckon it was either the drink dulling the senses, or the fact that King King were unknown to many of the punters tonight.
I was looking out into the crowd thinking “c’mon to f*** people, get a grip!” Luckily, that grip was gotten, when the boys belted into “Crazy” and there was no looking back. I could breathe easy and enjoy the rest of the show. As I said, this band are outstanding live, but they just made my night when they played my favourite track “ Rush Hour” back to back with their outstanding cover of Frankie Miller’s “Jealousy” This song on its own would cover any ticket price.
The slow burning “ Stranger To love” was close to stealing the show. I reckon this was the song that won over more fans than any other tonight. The guitar work in this song just beggars belief, and has to be seen live to be enjoyed to the full.
Tonight was the first step into the serious rock arena for the boys, and they walked away with a win, a knockout punch, during “Crazy” that no one recovered from. Next fight is support at next year’s Thunder arena tour. If you have tickets for this, make sure you are there early and do not miss out on a brilliant band on their way up… after that, you will be like me and catch them whenever, wherever you can.
Well, after the crowd being warmed up to perfection, Gun were going to find it tough, but these guys have been through their own battles over the years, and tonight is no different. Singer Dante had been to the doctors for a B12 jab, and had been swallowing flu tablets just to make it tonight. Seemingly it was touch and go whether the gig would go ahead, but hats off to the man, you could see he was not his usual self, but he would not let this home-town crowd down.
Now, before I go on with the gig, I need to get something off my chest. This may get me hung, drawn, and quartered in Glasgow someday, but I was never a Gun fan back in the day. I grew up not far from Glasgow, and started my gig journey in 1980 so I knew who they were… well, you couldn’t get away from them at one point, the guys were everywhere, and as much as I appreciated a home grown talent doing well, they just didn’t float my boat.
I cannot even put my finger on why, as they have some brilliant songs in their arsenal, songs I surprise myself at knowing the words too as I sing along. It is only through all the changes in line up, and the fact that these guys just would not give up, that started to pique my interest again. I was in this very hall back in March this year, and I was seriously impressed, especially at the quality of the live vocals from Dante. I may be late to the party, but I am definitely converted.
Ok, now that confession is over, we can get back to tonight, which was a bit shaky during the opener “Borrowed Time”, but that was to be expected. The poor guy looked like he had been brought to the side of the stage on a stretcher. I reckon if this was not the last gig of the year and if it was not Glasgow it would not have gone ahead.
The crowd accepted what this meant to the band, and the extra effort put in just to pull off this show. Tonight was sold out, and that was no mean feat given that there were a number of other gigs on in the city tonight (more of that in a moment) and the support and love sent to the band on the stage during “Don’t Say It’s Over” carried them through to “Better Days”. He could have put the mic down and had a little nap if he wanted. The crowd, as drunk as they appeared, were spot on and this one is always a crowd favourite.
It was great to see the band gather round Dante at different times and gee him up (or more likely in good old Scottish humour tell him to suck it up, ya wuss). It is great to see a band who have been together this long stick up for each other and really have each other’s back, not to mention having fun up there.
As the songs progressed, the show got better and better, and I have to say it was every bit as good as the March show. We saw Jools being cooled down by the rest of the band with a towel. It has been said the man perspires slightly on stage (imagine Chewbacca getting out a shower) and then we had Dante hit on one of the other gigs in Glasgow tonight…
Before we start I have to say I went to school with a certain Sharleen Spiteri. Yes, the other band playing tonight were Texas, a very popular band in this city, but I do not think there were many fans in this hall tonight. Dante told a very funny story (I don’t care if it wasn’t true) where a friend of Sharleen’s said they were coming to Glasgow on the 18th December, and she said “Oh, are you coming to see Texas” and they said “No. Gun“. Top Marks guys, and this was topped off with a “Fuck Texas” to massive cheers.
There was a sizable set list tonight which included all the Gun classics and their version of Hot Chocolate’s “Everyone’s A Winner”. It was a real party atmosphere, and a brilliant end to my gig year. Two Glasgow bands playing their home turf in the Barras… you just cannot get better than this, and I hope 2016 goes as well as this year has for all involved. You sent us out in style, guys.
Images and review: Ritchie Birnie