Concert Review: Glasvegas at Brighton Music Hall in Allston, MA
Glasvegas, as you might guess by their name, are from the lovely green land of Scotland, or you know…Glasgow if you want to nitpick. Lead singer James Allan has an incredibly distinct voice that I can imagine classical singers wincing at. I, however—and the rest of the fans at Brighton Music Hall (Allston/Boston area) on May 26th— was enthralled by his rather haunting vocals. Allan draws emotion from the audience like a siren draws unsuspecting men to their doom. His voice just pulls it out of you and you’re left feeling exhausted by the end of the show.
Of course, Allan isn’t doing all this by himself: he’s got a fantastic group supporting him: Rab Allan and James’ cousin (lead guitar, backing vocals), Paul Donoghue (bass guitar, backing vocals) and the most recent addition: Jonna Löfgren on drums. The majority of Glasvegas’ music is made up of catchy beats and melancholy lyrics, with an unmistakable focus on loneliness and various social issues, including an absent dad, football *cough* soccer, and a little bit of…um…murder.
The crowd at Brighton Music Hall was relatively small, as can be expected at this venue (yes, we all know the green line sucks…sometimes it’s worth it to go to these great locales, okay!), but the real hardcore fans came out of the woodwork and wallowed in the essence of Glasvegas. James Allan rocked a white outfit—white-washed jeans, suspenders, a white tee—as he’s done in several videos and photo shoots. It worked really well, actually, to draw your eye to him on stage in a darkly lit room. Should he wear it out? Not if he’s into drinking any colored liquids or eating food. Any food other than plain white rice.
Pretty much every song in the set list resulted in the crowd singing the lyrics in perfect unison, the group energy visibly soaking into the band who were all smiles and adoration toward their fans. One of my favorites was “It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry,” which starts out sounding a bit like a throwback to the sixties, with a swinging beat that fits perfectly with Allan’s unique vocals. Group swaying ensued with a lasting fervor.
Other crowd favorites were “Geraldine” and “Euphoria, Take My Hand.” The latter is a powerful song from their latest album Euphoric Heartbreak, that really highlights clean, crisp rhythms and the distinctive vocals that are exclusively Glasvegas. “Geraldine” is a sweet song about a hopeful social worker who just might stop you from slitting your wrists after listening to some of their other song selections. I can’t really say there were many songs that stood out as crowd highlights in the show since everyone knew every word to ever song played, it seemed. “Whatever Hurts You Through the Night” and “Lonesome Swan” carried us through the set.
Glasvegas are true performers. Allan had exactly the right timing on when to ham it up and joke with the audience and when to bust out some energetic crooning/whining. The setup was simple: a few colored lights here and there, a rope light twined around the mike stand that changed colors for each song, white outfit on black stage. It just all worked in a minimal, authentic way that small clubs so thrive in. Glasvegas seems to pull off the authentic “dirty” show quite well—so much so that I’d hate to see them in a giant venue with a huge crowd they couldn’t possibly interact with so intensely as they did at Brighton Music Hall. Check out the tour dates to see if they’re coming to your city…you don’t want to miss seeing these guys (and chick!) live.