North of the wall..
We opted for an earlyish start to hit Scotland – you never know what horrors might occur on the roads, plus it’s always nice to not have to rush about once you arrive somewhere. As it happens, the roads were pretty clear – the sat nav decreed the M6 was the best route up so it was also incredibly scenic as we hit the Lake District and into Scotland – I’m always struck when I visit these areas how stunningly beautiful they are – it certainly didn’t disappoint.
One stop at Tebay for lunch and coffee and we were straight into Glasgow and our car park, a short walk from the hotel – giving us time to have a bit of down time before wandering to the designated pre-gig drinking venue, The Horse Shoe Bar, where we immediately encountered Dean, Sarah and Wez – before being found by the assorted other folk. To say it was a little before 5 on a week day it was already pretty damn busy in there. It was good to just have the chance to have a drink and a natter.
With the gig having an early curfew presumably for the venue to reopen as a club night the doors opened at 7 – so we headed there for then, despite the early start we were being treated to two support acts. Stereo is a stylish cafe bar beneath which nestles the music venue – it’s pretty small, but it was homely with a sufficiently raised stage to avoid any mishaps despite the lack of barriers. Once inside we got to catch up with more folk – not least the band, Waggy, Dom, Leanne et al.
First up on stage were Start Static – energetic punkish indie music was the impression I took away from them – and the incredibly lively floppy-haired frontman. In between nattering and helping Ken to work out a set list in the back stage area by finding an old photo of Settle’s set list I’m afraid they were largely confined to a backing track however they were going down very well with decent number of folk who’d got into the venue early in time to check them out.
They were doing a pretty decent deal of a t-shirt and an album for £10 too – which seemed to be generating a fair bit of interest. I must check out their music in more detail in the future.
The second support act were Losing Ground, hailing from Ayrshire and helping the transition of the evening toward Ferocious Dog with a more folkish feel to their own punk sound. An engaging set admittedly watched mostly from the bar area – which probably explains why I ended up more than a little drunk by the end of the evening. The venue was filling up nicely – and whilst of course there were plenty of familiar faces both in terms of folk like us who’d travelled, but local faces too – but there were lots of folk who probably haven’t seen Ferocious Dog at all which is always good to see.
Intro music booming through the venue, it was time to get sorted – stashing hoody and e-cig behind the merch desk and making way to the front as Ferocious Dog hit the stage. Mick had had a t-shirt done with ‘Fight Fight and Die’ on the front in honour of opening track Gallows Justice which was a nice touch. It started out a fairly small moshpit – Waggy’s initial protective position in the front ending up not needed letting him retreat to the sidelines – however, as the evening went on we were able to lure a few more folk into the fray.
The sound in the venue was cracking – and with a pillar in the middle of the dancefloor a more contained mosh was probably a good thing! There were still enough willing hands to hoist me horizontal for Freeborn John with Dean surfing – it wasn’t a stable one though, with nobody taking the ‘Daren’ role of supporting his knees I tried to at least cover one of them. All ended well though, no casualties! Unusually that was it for any kind of crowd aerial activity – aside from right infront of the stage it wasn’t the highest ceiling anyway!
Slow Motion Suicide was probably – as it often is – the stand out moment of the gig. As usual it was dedicated to the death of Margaret Thatcher which was greeting with a thunderous roar of approval from the crowd. Interesting for the regular gig goers too – as Dan has added to his arsenal of electrical trickery so at the press of a pedal his already impressive violin solo takes on the extra richness it does on the album by similating having cellos playing along too. Looking forward to properly listening to that again tonight in Aberdeen.
The rest of the gig went by in a blur, Del offered me what I thought was a swig of water and turned out to be neat whisky, we had a circle for Freethinker and before we knew it it was all over and the bouncers increasingly insistent that we vacate. Not that we did, Ella had been busy helping Leanne with the merch and was helping pack stuff away, I didn’t do anything useful at all, just taking the oppotunity to natter with folk who’d come to the gig and had loved it, always a fun thing to do!
Upstairs we had another drink before heading out with the band (via a very circuitous route!) to a dodgy karaoke bar before eventually calling it a night and wandering back to the hotel (thanks to Ella’s sense of direction rather than mine, I might add) via a kebab shop. My first visit to Glasgow and a very fun night indeed, even if I ended up feeling a little less than my best by the time we’d made it back to our room. Never mind, nothing a bit of sleep won’t cure!