More often than not, gigs at Glasgow’s Barrowlands snowball together in the first few months of the year that sees TVB in the hallowed Ballroom venue so much we might as well have our own hanger in the cattle market cloakroom downstairs.
This week sees a return from former past masters and a current rock stalwart, with Big Country on Monday the 6th and Mastadon on Tuesday the 7th.
It’s nearly 30 years since Big Country first set the dancefloor beams bouncing with their uniquely Scottish take on the 80’s Rock slant – and over a decade since founding frontman Stuart Adamson, at the age of 43, was found hanged in his Hawaii hotel room.
In 2007 the remaining members (after some recording sessions under another moniker) toured Big Country material for the first time since 2000, in celebration of 25 years as a band with guitarist Bruce Watson and drummer Mark Brzezicki backing bassit Tony Butler who assumed lead vocals.
With only a handful of UK dates and a return to ‘indefinite hiatus’ shortly after, pressure mounted for a full resurgance of one of Scotland’s most disctinctive musical outfits. An invite to long time peer Mike Peters, former frontman with The Alarm, and the introduction of Watson’s son Jamie to the lineup found able and honourable bearers of Adamson’s duties.
Nothing in the Big Country catalog made as big an impact, or had a greater resonance, than their 1983 debut ‘The Crossing’ – which this tour celebrates. Expect much more than the 10 classics on the recently re-issued LP, with Peter’s likely to pay as much homage to Adamson as cheerleader to the Barrowlands crowd in his honour. A homecoming not to be missed.
Tickets £25 | Doors 1900
The following night the Barrowland’s will be have an altogether different, equally excellent reason to rock the Ballroom when American metal heavyweights Mastadon climb into the ring.
The purveyors of the ‘sludge’ sect of the genre were last in Glasgow to dispatch a labourious set covering their 2009 LP ‘Crack The Skye’ in full, before opening the set list to fiercer numbers from their intricate back catalouge.
By their own admission, the LP and subsequent tour wasn’t as enthralling as it looked on paper. Latest release, ‘The Hunter’ is a return to the luxurious layered metal nuggets that easily loosen their performance up.
Regardless of how their return fares, the sheer quality of the two support bands almost guarantees one of the hardest gigs to rock Scotland in 2012 – with Dillinger Escape Plan and Red Fang equally swamped in ability and experience to get a mosh pit moving.
New Jersey’s Dillinger Escape Plan have been dispensing their gutteral brand of screamcore since 1997, with seminal debut, Calculating Infinity, pushing mathcore and harsher elements of emo before the UK had even got to grips with even the most commercial Nu-Metal outfits.
Very few bands on the planet can replicate the technical proficency, with ferocious wielding of instruments in any direction their guitar straps will physically permit.
Frontman Greg Puciato’s free role does more than just touch base past the barrier, with his brave dives acting as a conduit to keep the Barra’s firing – even for the shorter set than the group will be used to. No one would blame you for burning most of your gas before the headliner on Tuesday night.
If you’re thinking about pacing yourself already, you might want to have a good study of opening act Red Fang. The Portland fourpiece are a ridiculous fusion of tangoing lead guitars, buzzsaw bass and the kind of drumkit pounding not seen since the early days of QOTSA. It’s a shame these guys haven’t seen fit for a proper European tour since last years sophmore album, Murder the Mountains, and it’ll be even more of a shame if you’re not at 19:30 on Tuesday to catch one of the most underated rock outfits around.