The Britrock Must Be Destroyed Tour hit Glasgow on Saturday night. Here, in no particular order, are the main things we learned (caveat: we'll never learn):
1. Dodgy are victims of the “taps-aff” Glasgow weather, which has blessed the city with one of those rare days where you can relax in the park with your top off, get on the lager early and arrive at the show later than you planned to. They make a fair account of themselves but it has to be admitted not very many people care. This isn’t a night for opened-minded consumption of new experiences.
2. The Glasgow Academy is cursed with one of the worst sounds in Scotland, and both Dodgy and Terrorvision are its victims. Despite that, you can’t keep Terrorvision down when they’re amongst friends and playing the hits. Besides, in this festival environment, the crowd brought its own sound and Tony – like tonight’s other frontmen – could get away with putting in a half-shift. But of course he doesn’t.
3. One good thing about an old venue like this is that the floorboards jump when the audience do. When Terrorvision deliver Perseverance (aka 'Whales and Dolphins'), and we reflect on how the hell Wright manages to pump out all those words while running and jumping all over the place, we’re all literally moved. It might be for the first time tonight but it's not the last.
4. Reef are absolutely certain they’re in Glasgow, and you know that because barely a song goes by without Gary Stringer mentioning it. They may not be aware but they’ve been the subject of some speculation – fuck it, sniping – at the bars, particularly from Wildhearts fans. Regardless of whether they knew they had something to prove, they do it, and the development of a half-decent sound helps.
5. Reef rock. As the only band with “new product” to “present to market,” they could easily have stood out for trying to force-feed new material… but as it happens, the title track from new album Revelation is just that. It’s like when Pearl Jam cheered up with The Fixer – for the first time ever, Reef show themselves to be capable of what Glasgow likes best: Bon Scott era AC/DC.
Listen for yourself:
6. The Wildhearts, over the years, have acquired something of a Motorhead legend, in that among those who have seen them many times, round about a third of those shows will have been brilliant, a third will have been decent, and a third will… be memorable for other reasons. While they receive the rapturous welcome they deserve – fully powered-up by Terrorvision and Reef – there seems to be a little top-end energy lacking, and for once the sound can’t be blamed. Having said that, they’re still brilliant, which just proves how good the preceding bands have been.
7. Part of the reason they’re so welcome is that everyone knows their story: a story of hard-living, sore losing and never ever giving up. Ginger Wildheart has recently been dealing with another bout of mental health issues; CJ Wildheart recently owned up to his own; Danny McCormack manages to walk on stage but then needs to sit, appearing as he is with one leg amputated below the knee. Tonight’s audience may not have had to deal so publicly with such struggles, but having reached… a certain age… they understand what it means for those guys to be here tonight. “It’s good to be here,” Ginger says, before adding: “It’s good to be anywhere.” We know, mate. We know.
8. While speculation surrounds recent interaction between Ginger and Frank Turner, when Turner is invited onstage for three songs at the end of the set, he’s welcomed… by everyone who knows who he is. If anyone has any doubts, the party atmosphere washes them away. When Ginger later tweets “Thank you Glasgow, tonight was exactly what I needed,” that seems to settle most of the online gossips too.
Thank you Glasgow, tonight was exactly what I needed. https://t.co/vcfnDLPTjlMay 19, 2018
I couldn’t like this tweet more. https://t.co/KrlJAyvbpQMay 20, 2018
9. It was one of those nights. Leigh-Anne met friends she hadn’t seen in years, and soon lost sight of them again down the front. Local musician Hutch had a ticket bought for him by a stranger who’d always loved his band and wanted to say “thanks for the music.” Davie caught up with the singer from his first band, they couldn’t remember why they split up, and the decided to get back together. Martin got one of the best snogs he’d had in years after running into someone he’d always fancied, only they’d both been married in the old days. There’s a definite air among many punters of having spent years thinking something had been stolen from them, now realising that it had just been put in a safe place and been forgotten about.
10. We need to talk about the tour title. “Britrock” was not a phrase many people of… a certain age… ever associated with, but in the end it’s worked for the keyword era. What we have here is a sense of “we were there” style nostalgia for a generation that never really had it, because it didn’t often seem as if what happened in the 1990s happened to them. (Not in Scotland, anyway.) To have served it up in not-quite-nostalgia-but-you-know-what-we-mean mini-festival format has simply been an act of genius. So many forty-somethings tonight hadn’t been to a gig in many, many years; so many of them hadn’t enjoyed a gig so much since the years of doing it for the first time – and it’s a comfortable bet that many of them will put going to live shows back into their lifestyle. While you’re not likely to find many people saying “we were the Britrock generation,” there’s now a club to be proud of. And what’s in a title anyway? Reef? Terrorvision? Wildhearts? Never gonna last with names like that, you know.
11. The Britrock Must Be Destroyed 2018 UK tour finishes this week. Tickets are on sale now (opens in new tab). You should go, you'll love it.
May 24: O2 Academy, Leeds (opens in new tab)
May 25: Motion, Bristol (opens in new tab)
May 26: Guildhall, Portsmouth (opens in new tab)