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Gig Review: Gun @ the Barrowland, Glasgow

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Review & Photography by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

You know its Christmas when it is time for the Gun show just as easily as you know its St Paddy’s day when SLF play the same venue.

This festive holiday show in itself has been going for a few years now and even though someone in the band always seems to be ill they always go down a storm and there are always fantastic support bands.

The first of those bands is Empyre but due to a last minute change of times and typical crappy train services into Glasgow I missed the boys which I am still gutted about as I love these boys.

The first band for me is Gin Annie and a NWoCR band I know well. These boys are always busy and they love a show in Glasgow (has it anything to do with the drinking?).

First things first the boys sound was shocking( something that never rectified itself all night) but never ones to give a shit they done what the do best, performed a high octane set with a smile on their faces.

It has to be said there was a certain football match on this evening, I believe it was some national team from Engerlund and some world cup thingy(wrong shape of ball for me) and with three English bands supporting a Scottish band in the countries second city I wonder if all three would rather be elsewhere?

The lights go down, the band strut onstage and the chuggy guitars kick off on “New Bad Habit” and David Foster and the boys play a set that sees them look as if they own the fucking place. The venue is still quiet which is a shame but the game I mentioned previously has started and I am sure a lot are elsewhere enjoying a better pint and sitting with their fingers crossed but they are the ones who missed out big time.

They follow up with “Fallin” and the Gin Annie sound continues as do the band. This catchy song sees the lads interacting and if you had never seen these boys before you instantly know they love each other and what they do more than anything in the world. They have one hell of stage presence and this carries them through the poor sound.

For me who knows their songs inside out it was great to hear a new number even if I did not catch the name of it as I was busy in the pit. It went down a treat as did the bands closing punch of “Devil in Me” and “Born to Rock’n’Roll”.

Gin Annie are stalwarts on the NWoCR movement and never fail to perform, especially here in Glasgow(probably because they know they have a few free beers from avid fans awaiting them).

The last slice of England before the Scottish main meal is Brummy band King Herd who I have caught once before but I think this was a new name for most of the fans out there. The venue is probably about half full by this point( as that match is still in progress) but the boys make the most of their chance.

A totally different vibe from Gin Annie, a more settled down and serious affair but they have a collection of some really good songs which the sound did not allow to be shown at its full potential but songs like “Halo” and “Remedy” tore through the dodgy sound and showed the power behind the band.

King Herd have some great songs and a very bright future ahead.

Before the headliners appear I am outside of the venue and hear a huge roar and I am sure the whole of Glasgow shook due to the amount of people jumping at once, yes, the game is over and 66 is put back in its box for a short while.

Back upstairs and the lights go down and the big screen burst to life with fire and is followed by a dragon swirling and flying before trying to swallow the venue.

The boys from Gun take the stage to a monstrous cheer and you can bet your ass everyone has left those local pubs with a smile on their faces and packed out this sold out show.

First up tonight is “Backstreet Brothers” from latest album The Calton Songs and one we were treated to for the first time last year, same weekend, same city, same venue.

From a new song to a 30 plus year old classic in “Something to Believe in” and this gets the warmest of welcomes as album Taking on the World is a mainstay of Scottish rockers and an album we grew up with and it has lost none of its shine.

It is back to 2017 for “Here’s Where I am” and there is not one drop off of intensity from the crowd, the venue is finally heating up(it was bloody freezing earlier) the Crimbo jumpers are getting warm and the sea of fluffy red hats are bobbing like crazy.

As we get to the fourth song in “Coming Home” not one word has been spoken other than the songs. The band are as tight as they have ever been and they have just been going about their business but this classic gives the band a glint in their eyes as they sing and play this song in the city it was written about.

I have finished doing photos and am at the far left of the stage(with close access to the bar) and as the words about my beloved city bounce through the starry rafters it takes me on my own journey. I have stood in the very same spot for as long as Gun have been a band, I have seen so many bands I Cannot count and after the old girl(The Glasgow Apollo) this is my favourite venue. I have witnessed Gun support in here many times back in the day and for me they are much better now than they were then.

This song in particular hits home as I look around, I know there will be people here who were at those shows so long ago and they will be as happy as me and our nostalgia will continue. There is also a little addition to the song tonight for those paying close attention as the lyrics are changed for one night only to “it’s not coming home”.

The next huge cheer comes in as “Don’t Say it’s Over” comes on and the alcohol that has flowed kicks in and the whole place goes apeshit. The biggest, craziest Christmas party kicks in a gear and shit is going to get crazy and as if to punctuate that the well known riff of Word Up” kicks off and it is time for the mid 40s female fraternity to get there 90s moves out and there are far too many pretty ladies waving their hands in the air like they don’t care.

This was the cover that propelled the band to stardom and it is impossible not to get your shit on, especially when the band are giving it all up there. Dante is on fire and anyone who doubted him putting down the bass and picking up the mic has to see him perform this song live.

Never mind your Mariah Carey, Word Up is my sign of Christmas from here on in. the set is fit to bursting with bangers in “Money to Burn”, “Money” and the awesome “Better Days” but is the encore when the party is at full swing.

With a four barreled blast from the past, kicking off with a gentle approach on “Higher Ground” but follow up with “Taking on the World” and “Shame on You” and right there with those three songs you know exactly why Gun can sell out a show three decades later. This band are imprinted in Scottish rock and they are the template every young Scottish band since 1990 have aspired to. It has always been said that if a Scottish crowd does not like you you know immediately but if they take you into their hearts you will be there forever, tonight is a proclamation of that fact.

The show is completed with another cover which I can convey in just one word…the intro scream of kicking. I cannot believe I first heard the band sing this 14 years ago in The Garage. Boy that makes me feel old as I class that as recent but it is a barnstormer of a song and the Barras reverts to chaos.

Another year, another Christmas show and another complete success…see you next years guys.

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