Sunday night saw the long awaited visit to Glasgow of the band everyone seems to be talking about: Blues Pills. Having previously had to cancel two gigs in the city it was little wonder that the venue sold out. Having said that, Audio is tiny, hidden away under Central Station’s railway arches it has a capacity of a couple of hundred, and that’s only if all those people are built like Twiggy. It does have quite a decent sized stage though, which was put to good use as three support acts warmed the crowd up before the main event. It’s a shame it wasn’t a bigger venue as they surely could’ve sold more tickets, and at eight quid for four bands it must be the cheapest night out in town.
First on stage were Hair of the Dog, a three piece from Edinburgh who played a short set from their “currently being recorded” album. The crowd was still filtering in at this point but the band got a good enough reception from the people who had arrived early. Next up were Black Wolf, who upped the volume with a really good set including current single Kiss the Fire. They play real rock n roll, big riffs and the singer has a great voice. One note though – maybe tone down the audience participation a bit. When you’re headlining and everyone knows your songs, you’ll get it without asking.
And so to the final support act, The Vintage Caravan. The venue was full by this point so they got a good reception from an ever more enthusiastic crowd. They must breed them thick skinned in Iceland, as on a freezing cold Glasgow night the bass player and drummer hit the stage shirtless. In fact, the drummer was only wearing shorts. I’ve never seen anyone drum barefoot before but it seems to work for him. Their set went down well, although I must say I enjoyed their playing far more than the vocal.
So finally to Blues Pills. After three support acts played their sets, stripped their kit off the stage and brought the next bands kit on it seemed a really long wait for the headliner. I was looking forward to seeing them as they seem to be mentioned everywhere these days as the next up and coming band. They don’t seem to be letting that go to their head though, as they mingled with the crowd and came on stage to absolutely no fanfare at all. It does seem that while they’re getting a lot of hype, they’re still learning their craft. A sneak peek at the set list taped to the stage proved that, with the instruction “tune and talk” reminding the band that every few songs it’s good to stop and say hi. Singer Elin is so tiny she lifted her microphone stand onto the raised section at the front of the stage in order to be seen. For a tiny lady though she has a big voice. Whether she’ll enjoy the inevitable comparisons to Janis Joplin I don’t know, but the similarity is there for all to see. When not singing she dances around stage with a tambourine, invisible behind a mane of long, blonde hair and in her stocking feet, looking for all the world like she came straight from Woodstock. Her voice on the acapella intro to Devil Man really showed off the power in her voice and I can only see them going from strength to strength. Elin does seem nervous when talking to the crowd, sometimes stuttering over her words, but then English isn’t her native language and stage presence will come with time. For now I’d say they are a raw talent, the long instrumental sections proving that they can play as well as she can sing, and there is definitely the potential there for them to be massive. I’ll see them again next month opening for Rival Sons, something I’ll very much look forward to.
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