Reel Big Fish – Glasgow Garage

Reel Big Fish
Image by Iain Purdie via Flickr

[full gallery of photos in this Flickr set]

I missed openers The JB Conspiracy, which is a shame. Main support Orange didn’t get a great reception, though. I saw most of their set and they were OK but nothing brilliant. No faulting the effort they put into the set, and it was a shame – frankly – to hear them being boo’d off stage. I wonder if the same thing happened when they opened for Bowling For Soup recently?

Despite the fact the band have been going for over 20 years, I’ve still never seen Reel Big Fish live. The closest I ever came was in Adelaide a couple of years back, but I couldn’t get hold of a ticket (full story in the fourth paragraph of this post on my travel blog). Funnily enough, I seem to remember more than one person saying they sucked live – and this was from fans.

Maybe they caught a duff gig as tonight’s show was excellent. Without wishing to insult either band, I’d pigeon-hole them as “Bowling For Soup with a brass section”. Both have infections songs and don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re energetic on stage, communicate with the audience and really know how to get a crowd bouncing.

Now, I only know a handful of RBF songs… and they opened with three of them. They also encored with the other, but thankfully they’re enjoyable enough to watch that you don’t really need to know all the words. In addition, they’re fairly well known for their cover versions which get dropped into the set here and there making them good value for the curious who don’t own an album.

A highlight, and something I gather is a regular feature, was the song “S.R.” of which they played 5 versions (I believe they have 10-12 up their sleeves). We got punk, country, death metal… all good!

Definitely glad I made the effort to see them this time around and I’ll be up for their next show, whenever it is.

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Ginger (Wildhearts) – Glasgow Garage

[For the full slew of pictures, please see this Flickr set]

And time for the annual Ginger gig. Well, bi-annual seeing as he did an acoustic set in Glasgow about 6 months ago that I missed. This year’s shindig was moved from the Garage to the smaller G2 which is a shame, but it’s still not bad and meant the crowd could definitely be described as “intimate”.

We caught the tail end of one of the support bands and they weren’t much cop. A lot of effort, but just nothing that great. Sorry to whoever they were.

Last December, the gig was pure Wildhearts numbers. I knew every one and it was fantastic. This year… I didn’t even recognise the first couple of songs at all. I assume they’re from Ginger’s current band, though I’m not sure if the musicians on stage with him were part of that. Let’s face it – historically he’s not had the greatest records at keeping a band together! I think I recognised the bassist from last year though.

Eventually, Ginger wiped off some rather obscure facepaint and the band launched into “I Wanna Go Where The People Go“, a nice bouncy number that I could finally get into. The set was a mix of predominantly older material with a few more recent tracks. I overheard a couple of guys after the gig. One was telling his mate that he had the recent albums and had listened to them a couple of times, that they weren’t bad but that they weren’t a patch on the old stuff which he’d enjoyed the most. Pretty much what I was thinking.

Ginger, however, is such a good entertainer because his between-song banter is so good. He’s very much “one of the lads”. Rather than preaching about record executives and how the government shouldn’t be involved in US foreign policy like some bands, he just informs everyone that the “hurricane” they braved to get the the venue was “well, a bit **** really”. Then launching into a song about Hurricane Bawbag that the band had written than afternoon.

He spent a large portion of the show singing into a microphone adorned with a pair of y-fronts thrown from the audience, which apparently had a phone number written on them. Such is the nature of a Ginger gig!

The rest of the band were pretty good apart from the rather strange woman who took up one of the microphones. The sound wasn’t great, so it’s hard to tell if she was there for harmonies or what. Regardless, she looked pretty and everything, but also looked ridiculously out of place. You know the way someone looks when they’re just not really sure what to do? Like a competition winner dragged out of a crowd to stand next to one of their heroes? That’s the impression she gave. Strange.

The gig finished a little earlier than I think the band had expected as they were informed of the Garage’s early curfew after they went on stage. A shame as it obviously meant missing a good number of classic tracks out. Amongst them “Geordie in Wonderland”. I’m gutted that my favourite – and a regular int he set – had to be skipped just so flipping students could get a couple more cheap drinks in.

Life goes on. As does Ginger. And I’m sure he’ll be back next year – hurricane or not!

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Volbeat – Glasgow Garage

Volbeat - Glasgow Garage
Image by Iain Purdie via Flickr

[more pics of this gig in the related Flickr collection]

This will have to be a very quick review as I’m absolutely knackered, have work in the morning and Bowling For Soup to see tomorrow night.

Quick back story. I’d really never heard of Volbeat until their gig was advertised on Rock Radio (sadly rebranded this week and sounding like it’s going downhill already). The one riff they used appealed, so I searched around and got hold of Volbeat’s albums.


I then promptly forgot about the gig, partly as we already have tickets for so many. Then I realised it was a couple of days away, and assumed I could pay on the door. Thankfully I checked and was informed by the staff that I couldn’t (on this occasion) and managed to get one online in the afternoon.

Remembering the early curfew at the Garage, I got there around 8pm as the Black Spiders were finishing their set. I’d last saw them opening for Airbourne and didn’t think much of them. They sounded a lot better in this small venue, but they still don’t do it for me.

Volbeat - Glasgow Garage
Image by Iain Purdie via Flickr

Volbeat took to the stage at 8:45 and started as they proceeded to go on until around 10:30 – rocking.

Take one look at lead singer/rhythm guitarist Michael Poulsen‘s tattoos and you’ll have some idea of their sound – “J.R.Cash” across his collarbone; “Elvis Aaron Presley” on his left bicep; “Social Distortion” down his left forearm. Yeah, quite a variety. For a band with a singer who sounds so American it’s almost surprising to find out that they hail from Denmark.

I can honestly say I have never seen a band grinning so much on stage as this bunch. They obviously enjoy what they’re doing and it transfers into their music which – despite the heavy rhythms and low toned vocals – is generally upbeat.

The crowd were definitely well up for a good gig and they certainly got one. Don’t ask me to name any of the songs, though as well as a ton of great home-grown material, there were two cover versions (one Johnny Cash, one Hank Williams) plus a smattering of snippets of songs from other artists such as Metallica, Slayer and Mercyful Fate. Hell, the band were doing “requests” based on the t-shirts they could see in the audience.

For a gig by a band who I barely knew, I had a tremendous time and would definitely recommend seeing them if you get the chance. And getting their albums.

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Ginger (ex-Wildhearts), Glasgow Garage

Ginger (ex-Wildhearts)
Image by Iain Purdie via Flickr

[more photos in this Flick set]

“So, stop talking about Scottish people and just play some ******* music, yeah?”

This one took me back a few years. I wasn’t 100% sure about going as it was on a school night, and the weather was closing in. However, my lovely other half bought me a ticket for my birthday so I just had to drive through for it.

Oh, I am so glad I did.

Ginger is a legend. He fronted The Wildhearts for years, a band which broke up more often than a packet of cheap digestive biscuits. In fact, the last time I saw them was at Newcastle University a lot of years ago. He stormed off stage somewhere around halfway through the gig after arguing with the other guitarist.

He couldn’t have been any more different tonight. I honestly don’t think he stopped smiling the entire evening. Ginger’s first appearance was to guest guitar on Baby Chaos’ last song – a band themselves who only got back together to play support for the man himself.

After a short break, he took to the stage with his own band and launched into a set consisting predominantly of Wildhearts classics – of which there are many. The crowd were bouncing within two songs, and I have to confess I was pleasantly surprised by the turn-out. I’d honestly thought that the world would have forgotten about The Wildhearts, but it seems I was thankfully mistaken!

My Twitter feed became a slew of song titles, I was so excited. I’m glad to see I made so many people somewhat jealous! “I Wanna Go Where The People Go“, “If Love is Like a Love Bank”, “Vanilla Radio“… and after a short break the first encore song, “Geordie In Wonderland“. Oh ******* wow. As I said, the last time I saw Ginger live was in Newcastle itself. This performance was every bit as good. As the song kicked off, two girls behind me were talking to each other. “That guy in front’s going to love this one”. The fact I was wearing a Newcastle United shirt (which I began waving over my head!) may have given this away.

To break up the songs, Ginger had a great line in patter. Hell, I think he could have stood there and just shot the **** with the audience for ninety minutes and sent everyone home grinning. Quote of the night was probably the short exchange with someone in the middle of the crowd.

Ginger: All I heard was “something something something ****.”

Voice: Just get the **** on with it!!!

Ginger: Aye, reet. I heard that.

A great guy, with great rapport and a huge collection of material to wade through. So glad I went and for any old Wildhearts fans who missed it, do keep an eye out for further tours. I’m sure he’ll be back.

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All That Remains / Soilwork – Glasgow Garage


Another quickie review. I think there were actually five bands on the bill, though my ticket “only” lists four. I missed Bleed From Within, but caught the last 3-4 songs by Caliban. They were OK, nothing special, but the last song was ace. Shame I have no idea what it was!


Possibly the only Swedish band I’ve ever seen live (possibly not, as well) and the second time I’ve caught them. Last time was 4-5 years ago at my first Graspop festival in Belgium when they were touring in support of their Stabbing The Drama album.

They put in a solid performance and had the crowd bouncing. The best tracks of the night – and the most welcomed – did seem to be from the aforementioned album, though. This was their breakthrough release and is certainly the one I know the best.

Good set, nice guys and it certainly had me wanting to go home and re-listen to their stuff.

All That Remains
All That Remains

All That Remains

“Apparently there’s some problems with snow. We’re from Massachusetts. That’s a ******* sprinkle out there!”

And thus began a very impressive headlining set indeed. Due to technical problems (I think) and the number of bands playing, All That Remains didn’t get a particularly long show which is a shame. I’ve not seen them before, but what I did see impressed me.

Philip Labonte is a great frontman. All posing, great rapport with the crowd and a fantastic vocal range. Standout, though was Oli Herbert. This is a man who was obviously constrained by the small stage size. It was like watching a wildcat in playpen, or a small child bouncing around during a world Ritalin shortage. This is a man who would be all over the place on a large festival stage.

They played a varied set, and I recognised quite a few tracks as I’ve had a couple of the albums in the car over the last few weeks. What I really like about ATR is that they’re not ashamed to mix three styles of music in a single song, let alone across one album.

None of the bands were ones I’m a massive fan of, but they are ones I listen to. Listening to them live was a great experience, though. Definitely worth the trip into Glasgow and the hairy drive home.

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