First time I’ve been in the ABC in Glasgow and as first impressions are, supposedly, important then I think my relationship with the venue is off to a flying start. Small without being dingy, large enough to hold a big crowd without feeling crammed in, it’s an ideal venue for all but the largest acts.
I’ll skip over the support act as they were largely ANOTHER punk/rock type band (was supposed to be The Spores but they pulled out). All thin trousers, raspy guitars and more energy than craft. They were called “The Mothers of… ” something or other but their lead singer needs some elocution lessons. I want to say “.. Invention” but I seriously hope it wasn’t.
Waiting for the band to come on stage, AC/DC played ‘gently’ in the background before, with little warning, the PA suddenly kicked up a notch or ten and my chest started thumping intime with the hip-hop beat of… well I can’t recall the name but it certainly set the tone for the evening.
A few seconds later the leader singer Jesse Hughes strutted on stage, with the rest of the band following in his wake. Whilst they are a very tight act, there is no doubt who the frontman is… and what a frontman, definitely a rock star, with the slicked back hair, sunglasses, tight jeans and shirt open to the waist, the hint of cowboy reminded me of Brad Pitt in Kalifornia.. southern rock hick.
Musically, the name of the band is off putting. They are not a death metal band, and there are accounts that suggest the name came about because they wanted to mix the sound of The Eagles with some death metal influences. Whether or not that’s true, it’s grimy, dirty rock and roll and they kept the placing jumping and dancing for the entire set. A few cover versions —Stuck in the Middle with You, Brown Sugar, and Beat on the Brat— kept you guessing, and almost everyone joined in the obligatory “Wooo yeahh” crowd singing moments.
With Hughes dancing and preening and cajoling and teasing the crowd, it’s almost tempting to think that we WERE witnessing the best gig of the tour. Certainly their claim that they were going to, for the first time, play “Solid Gold” live seems to be true, and Hughes in particularly seemed genuinely overwhelmed at the response. As was I. It may be in part due to the size of the venue but it’s been a long time since I felt so involved, so part of a gig and a lot of credit has to go to Jesse Hughes.
Of course the music lended itself to the good atmosphere, with hip-hop inspired beats backing some fairly heavy guitar, the band sit on the edge of being “metal” with just enough “americana” thrown in to keep things from destructing. Every gig is the “best gig since the last one” but this one might just push it’s way into my top three. I’d certainly love to see some of my favourite bands play somewhere as small as the ABC, in particular the Foo Fighters (their gig at the SECC – AKA the “big red shed” – now seems even less personal and involving than I realised).
So, to summarise: Eagles of Death Metal, Glasgow ABC, 5th March 2007. Kicked. Fucking. Ass.
P.S. Can anyone tell me why my last.fm accounted has been switched to French?