Friday, February 21, 2014

Live Review: Glasvegas @ Knitting Factory

Brooklyn holds a special place in the hears of the members of Scotland's Glasvegas, it is where they recorded their near-perfect 2008 debut, so, when the band returned to the U.S. for the first time in three years to tour, it was Brooklyn that was going to get a special show. A gig that was originally slated to be performed at the brand new Rough Trade Record Store in Williamsburg was moved due to unfinished sound-proof conditions at the new venue to the Knitting Factory, just down the road. While Glasvegas were in town to tour behind their latest record, last year's Later...When the TV Turns to Static, it was those memories of recording in Brooklyn that stirred the band as the setlist was heavy on their debut material.

Arriving on stage just past 10, Glasvegas, who had just done a gig the night before at Mercury Lounge in Manhattan, looked like they were right at home. The last time they were in the area, they had sold-out Bowery Ballroom, but this seemed to be comfortable. Thursday night seemed to be a different band from a few years ago, they were not here to maintain their cool, or try and impress a major label boss, they were here to play to the fans that have stuck by them all of these years. Inside the intimate Knitting Factory, Glasvegas shook the walls with the magnificent decibel levels going off their speakers and took their stadium-ready sound and bottled it into a tiny venue. For the 300 or so fans inside, this was a treat. Singer James Allen was in one of the more talkative moods we have seen since covering this band since '08, drummer Jonna Löfgren stood while she played her kit and created so much, using so little, bassist Paul Donoghue, still missing a front tooth, slammed on his axe, while guitarist / keyboardist Rab Allen, who looked slimmer, sounded simply perfect with everything he was playing. This was a special gig, this was Glasvegas back in town to promote a new record, but knew what the fans wanted. As they ripped through thunderous renditions of "Geraldine," "Go Square Go," "The World Is Yours," "It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry," it was the unique performance of "Flowers and Football Tops," which just featured James and his guitar that had the audience in the palm of their hand. One of the best performances of this band I have seen and clearly an act everyone should see now that they are back in the States.

Opening the show was L.A. fraternity The Ceremonies. The Ceremonies perfect blend of 1980's new-wave and modern indie were the perfect opener to the night. The band, who have been creating a buzz with their latest single, "Land of Gathering," brought along a full band to support the trio of brothers sound. While they have made a few appearances in the New York area before, it seems the buzz is finally catching on as those that arrived early clearly knew the words to some of the songs and were just as impressed as I was with their live sound. This is a band who we predict will soon go from opening slot to headlining position in no time.