Burnout, Smoking Sundays, Common Heights, Japan Four, Frazer Brown and Black Lights live at Barrowlands 2, Glasgow ( 19 April 2008 )
Glasgow, or at least Barrowlands 2 anyway, gets invaded by a horde of music lovers from West Lothian. They even brought their own bands. Providing the music tonight (and diverting the Bluesbunny from the distinct lack of Guinness at this venue) were Burnout, The Smoking Sundays, Common Heights, Japan Four, Frazer Brown and the Black Lights.
Warming up an audience is no easy task but the Black Lights are clearly man enough for the job. They walk the rock walk and talk the rock talk. In a world of political correctness and being sensitive to your female side - whatever that might be - The Black Lights make a refreshing change with their brand of solid, 100% macho rock. "Sweet Salvation" came over loud and proud and "Ready for Love" was delivered with enough explosive guitar riffs to sink a ship. A band like this needs a good front man and indeed they had one by the name of James - a seven foot tall rock legend in the making. As impressive as his strutting stage persona was, the most important thing to note was just how tight the Black Lights were as a band and that could well take them to success outside their genre.
Next to the stage of Barrowlands 2 is Frazer Brown. One man and his guitar is all you get. Now it would appear that he is quite a sensitive guy judging from his lyrics and he sang his bitter-sweet songs with real conviction encouraged by support from the crowd. "Don't Talk about Love" was the song that stuck in the Bluesbunny mind.
Time for another band, this time Japan Four. Four young guys with an abundance of raucous energy and arrogance, they took to the stage and did their thing. Oh, and the audience loved it! Plenty of applause punctuates their set and, bizarrely, they even managed to dedicate a song to the ASBO generation. No matter how you look at it, Japan Four showed what they were capable of tonight in terms of crowd pleasing action but there is clearly more to them than just power chords.
Common Heights are on next. Another four piece band, they started their set with a solo acoustic number from their lead singer Kevin Hughes. Then the whole band gets in on the action and they let loose a storming set of punk influenced songs. The jagged guitars that peppered "Kick a Habit" came over with a ferocity that took the Bluesbunny all the way back to 1978. There was a freshness to their sound that would perk up the ears of the most jaded of listeners and things really took off with their last song, the vaguely funky "Project Justice".
It might be a complement to the audience but one of the stewards remarked that it would normally take a crowd of twice the size of the one in tonight to spill so much beer on the floor. So how did that much beer get spilt on the floor? Well, it all started with the Smoking Sundays. They had a dedicated - maybe deranged would be a better word - bunch of fans with them tonight and they were ready to dance. Holding their lager high in appreciation, the fans spurned this band on. By the time the Smoking Sundays get to "Back to Reality", mayhem had ensued. People were slipping on the beer, crashing to the floor, getting back up and continuing to dance. Driven on by powerhouse drumming and Mikey Hinton's down and dirty guitar, the audience were truly lost in the moment. The pied piper had nothing on this band. Everybody who saw and heard them would follow them anywhere. Do not miss them!
Following the Smoking Sundays would require a lot of courage. Facing up to that challenge tonight were Burnout. They have big songs and they have no fear. No fear at all. Without a trace of nervousness, lead singer Martin Livingston reaches out and drags the audience towards him. It's like a massive karaoke party as each song turned into an almighty sing along. Hands outstretched, the audiences chanted "Burnout…Burnout" between songs. Driven on by the adoration, the band turned the heat right up. The band sweats. The audience sweats. "Black Eyed Son" cuts through the air. People slip on the wet floor and tumble to the ground. They get back up. They dance some more. Paul Vinter's guitar moves mischievously through the mix. That adoration again. Every song drives the audience into a frenzy. Even watching them from the safety of the back of the hall got this Bluesbunny sweating. They work hard for the money and that's the truth.
You know what the most impressive thing about this event was? The sheer enthusiasm of the crowd. A good number of them came up to tell the Bluesbunny about their favourite band and how they hoped that they would get a break into the big time. That is a refreshing thing in these days of punters just waiting to be told what fashionable musical bandwagon they should jump on. At this point in a review it would be customary for the Bluesbunny to pick the band that did best. Tonight Bluesbunny raises his glass to the audience and hopes all the bands that played appreciate having such dedicated fans. It was a joyous thing to behold.
Just in case you thought Bluesbunny had forgotten about chicken pakora, tonight's portion came from Flames which is just down the road from the Barrowlands. It rounded off the night nicely.
Reviewer: Handsome Bluesbunny
Review Date: 19 April 2008
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