The Venue, Glasgow 1985 PAUL SUTER
BOTH ‘GLASGOW the place and Glasgow the band have rather more to offer than their reputations might suggest. In my days in Scotland I can recall only a fairly scruffy city replete with hordes of questionable pubs seeming to offer a free fight with every pint; now nothing could be further from the truth. Similarly, Glasgow the band are only known for a year-old Tommy Vance session and a highly dodgy low-budget single on Neat (which they prefer to forget about); captured on home turf, after repeated entreaties, they clearly have something more to offer.
This was definitely a gig for reading between the lines, though – metaphorically speaking, of course. Quite frankly, the sound was disgusting, and only the last few numbers gave any fair approximation of the band’s true ability. But throughout the aural endurance test the quality of the material and the potential of the group was there for anyone who cared to listen.
They’re a four-piece not overflowing with frills, built on the hard rock rhythms of drummer Joe Kilna and bassist Neil Russell, the pair staunchly powering a succession of excellent songs. With only one guitarist in the line-up, Archie Dickson, there’s a concise lead line flowing through it all, although off-the-wall flashiness isn’t entirely absent. Generally, though, the feel is more solidly British than with most of the dual-lead line-ups currently in contention, leaving plenty of room for vocalist Mick Boyle to flaunt himself.
Boyle is tall and commanding; the miniscule stage at this show clearly hampered him but the guy has both the presence and the looks to attract attention and no small amount of female interest. His voice is curious and almost monotonal, lacking dynamics but bristling with power; a bit of development could be needed here, but the effect was nevertheless impressive, and I’d place him well above several established names when it comes to actually delivering what’s required.
The material’s ballsy and attacking, with at least one eye on America, but as noted above a shade more British-rooted than some. Ironically, despite having only one guitar in the line-up, Wishbone Ash are a clear reference point on the exciting `Shaman’ and ‘Searching For Glory’. There’s a dark tension to much of Glasgow’s material that’s ultimately more exciting- and lasting – than straightforward thrashing. But they can also burn with the best of ’em, as evidenced by a scorching cover of ‘Faith Healer’ and a frenzied rendition of their own ‘Heat Of The Night’, presenting a neat contrast with their dramatic rock ballad, ‘Say Goodbye’.
As I noted above, the sound was pretty grim for most of the show. But given the fact that I was impressed under such circumstances, I’m prepared to predict great things ahead for Glasgow.
Heavy Pettin, Glasgow, Drunken State – Rumours, East Kilbride
GOODBYE, HEAVY Pettin. Yes, tonight the local faithful bade a final farewell to a band which prom ised so much but never quite delivered. A sad demise really, brought on by an unworkable relationship between band and label. But first.
Local Thrashers Drunken State opened tonight’s musical menu. Lacking killer instinct and raw power, maybe as a result of a clean and quiet mix,
Drunken State are nonetheless a talented and disciplined band showing signs of potential. Despite their youth, they are quickly gaining experience having supported Wolfsbane, DRN and soon Chariot. A good prospect, given time to develop songs and image.
Glasgow certainly aren’t short of experience, having been around for some time before releasing a promising debut album, ‘Zero, Four. One’, late last year. Consequently, they are no fools when It comes to working a crowd, structuring a set and delivering what people want to hear.
Most of the tracks from the new album, especially the opener ‘Meet Me Halfway’. ‘Under The Lights’ and the current single ‘Secrets In The Dark’ seem made for live performance, which is, after all, what most of them were intended for.
A double encore for Glasgow was not a surprise, given the proximity of East Kilbride to Glasgow’s hometown, but they fully deserved the acclaim.
Check out the album and look out for them on tour.
And so to Heavy Pettin. Determined to enjoy his farewell, frontman Hamie gave everything ably assisted by band members old and new; Gordon Bonnar (guitar), Gary Moat (drums), David Leslie (bass) and the quite brilliant Alec Dickson (guitar).
In a set also full of old and new. high spots were provided by ‘Rock Me’, ‘Sole Survivor’, ‘Hell is Beautiful’ and of course ‘Rock Ain’t Dead’. Oh, and a nifty solo spot from the youthful Alec Dickson, including two-handed tapping.
On one or two occasions, the old fire was rekindled, with Hamie astride the monitors, proud and loud, but this really wasn’t a vintage performance.
How could it be under the circumstances?
Somehow an air of gloom seemed to creep in as the Pettiri set progressed with the growing realisation that this event was equivalent of a rock ‘n’ roll funeral. Who put the nails in the coffin?
A suitable epitaph was provided by AC/DC’s ‘Gonna Be Some Rockin’ closing the story on a high note with Pettin joined by most of Glasgow (the band), Dougie White (La Paz), Ian Donaldson (ex-H2O) and various others for a final singalong. An appropriate finale tinged with a touch of sadness and maybe even bitterness.
As the band left the stage, an eerie silence fell. The dream is shattered. Heavy Pettin are nothing more than a memory.