Everyone who knows anything about gig venues has heard of King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, the legendary Glasgow venue currently celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. I’ve photographed and reviewed gigs in most of the venues around Glasgow but up till now King Tuts had remained the one that got away. I finally got my chance last night, as Danko Jones came to town for the first time in nine years. King Tuts isn’t a large venue, with a capacity of only three hundred, but its intimacy creates the atmosphere the place is known for. And last night was certainly intimate as every inch of floor was crammed full.
The show opened with The Amorettes, who are playing the whole tour with Danko but were no doubt looking forward to this, their hometown gig, the most. There’s been a fairly big buzz around this band for a while now and a lot of the crowd had seen them before and sang along throughout the set. With a setlist taken from their album Game On, highlights included Daddy’s Got Money, cleverly introduced by singer Gill. “If you don’t have any money to buy our merch, get daddy to buy it for you, because Daddy’s Got Money!” One of their best known songs, Bull by the Horns, was a highlight before they wrapped up their excellent set with a bit of a crowd singalong of Hot and Heavy.
You’d have thought a start time of 10pm on a Sunday night might have put some people off but that wasn’t the case at all as the crowd was singing before Danko Jones even got onto the stage. A chant of “here we, here we, here we fucking go,” soon morphed into, “Danko, Danko, Danko fucking Jones,” and the two chants carried on at various points through the night, to Danko’s utter bemusement as he couldn’t catch what was being said. His response was that since everyone was joining in and no one was rioting he was going to assume it was a positive. By this point not only was the floor crammed but the bench seats along the back were being used as stepladders as everyone strained for a better view.
During our interview before the gig I got the impression of Danko as a quiet-spoken, thoughtful man who has been in the music business for a long time, seen all there is to see and has a lot of fascinating stories and opinions. He told me he doesn’t often read reviews. As long as he feels when he comes off stage that he can look himself in the mirror and know he did the best show he could then that’s all the review he needs. I’d say he definitely left it all out there last night. Gone was the quiet man, replaced by a man who played and sang with huge intensity, built up a good rapport with the crowd and put on an unbelievable rock show. With almost two decades of music to choose from the setlist included some old and some new tracks, and the crowd joined in with every single one. Opener The Rules, Play the Blues and Sugar Chocolate got things going, and the band; singer Danko, bass player JC and drummer Rich barely stopped for breath between songs. This became the format for the show, three or four songs played back to back followed by a minute to catch a breath and have a chat. Danko had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Often crowds get quickly bored with singers chatting to them and start heckling for the music to continue but this didn’t happen once last night. In a show full of highlights Samuel Sin, Do You Wanna Rock and Legs were excellent, as was the section made up of Cadillac, Lovercall and Gonna be a Fight
Tonight. My favourite song of the night though was the finale, Bring on the Mountain, during which Danko preaches to the crowd about how when you get to the top of the mountain the only way left to go is sky high. It includes a mantra lots of us would do well to remember when we feel knocked down. Heart gets stronger, skin gets thicker, mouth gets louder. As the crowd chanted along with him the legendary King Tuts atmosphere really came into its own and the crowd filtered out into the rain with smiles on their faces. I really hope it’s not another nine years before Danko Jones finds his way back to Glasgow.
Play the Blues
Forget my Name
The Twisting Knife
Die, Die my Darling
Do You Wanna Rock
Code of the Road
Gonna be a fight tonight
Watch you Slide
Full of Regret
Bring on the Mountain
Listen to my interview with Danko here:
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