Do music fans in Glasgow really know how fortunate they are to have the world’s biggest and best bands turn up on their doorstep every night? I’d even go so far as to suggest it compensates for the city’s abundance of bigots, neds, slums and pissy weather.
A glance at the forthcoming tours of top draws such as Jonsi, Wilco, The National, Jimmy Eat World, Arcade Fire, MGMT, Mumford & Sons and Godspeed You Black Emperor show they’re all playing Glasgow plus no more than six other UK cities, none of which are in Scotland. In fact, it would be more of a surprise if an established artist booked a UK or European tour that did not include a Glasgow date.
But it’s a luxury that, in my experience, Glaswegians tend to take for granted. Most have never had to factor in a night at a hotel into the cost of attending a gig, or been faced with the realisation that they would have no way of getting home if the last bus/train left without them.
As a Glasgow native, the only long-haul trip I’ve had to make in recent times in the name of music was to see Californians Jack’s Mannequin – a band whose songs generate such fan worship in me that the lack of a Scottish visit on their two-date UK tour in March 2009 led me to the exotic destination of Manchester, England.
Everything became infinitely more complicated. Plane, train and bus timetables had to be compared, budget hotels had to be researched, the murky world of local public transport had to be negotiated. And to top it all off, the gig had sold out before I was even aware of its existence. Thankfully running a music blog has its uses.
The great irony is that after going to such lengths for a rare appearance from one of my heroes on UK soil they then booked their first-ever Scottish date five months later… in Glasgow of course.
At least the Jack’s Mannequin gig allowed me to cross them off my fantasy wishlist of must-see bands before I die which now reads: Hello Saferide (Sweden), Freelance Whales (USA), Sea Wolf (USA), American Princes (USA), Jose Vanders (England), Youth Group (Australia).
And this week I’ll be able to reduced it to a mere 5 as the spellbinding Freelance Whales are making their way to Oran Mor, supporting The New Pornographers. It’s good to be reminded of why I love this town. How do you make a Weegie bored?
Sea Wolf – Turn The Dirt Over