Ivory Blacks in Glasgow could be a great wee venue. It’s a decent size, it’s smack bang in the city centre, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be buzzing on a Saturday night. Unfortunately because of some strange planning Tigertailz played last night to a crowd of only about fifty. I understand that the venue owners and gig promoters want to give young bands their opportunity, but putting three support bands on this bill meant that by the time Tigertailz came on people who had to get the last train home, including yours truly had no choice but to miss half of the set.
The night was opened by Glasgow band Manifold, one of the young bands I’m referring to who really could’ve made more of this opportunity they were given. Their singer has a decent voice, particularly on their final number, a cover of Whole Lotta Rosie, but she didn’t need to make the announcement that this was their biggest gig to date. That was clear from the start. While they’ve obviously put some time into their music, their stage performance needs work. For example, if you’re going to have an image, go all out or don’t bother at all. With two members of the band wearing massive glam rock style wigs and glittery scarves, and the other three dressed normally everything was just a bit confused. Manifold had brought friends and family with them who cheered and sang every song, but another piece of advice for the singer: holding a conversation with your friend in the crowd via your microphone just alienates the rest of the crowd. With Tigertailz drumkit taking up most of the stage the band had little room to move but again their inexperience showed as the singer hung around at the back of the stage and wasn’t in the light for the entire set.
Second up was Tergazzi. To my ears they actually put on a much better performance than Manifold, but with a lack of connection and personality. They clearly hadn’t brought cheerleaders with them, as every track was received with no more than polite applause.
Next up were Estrella, and all of a sudden the atmosphere completely changed. The crowd moved forward to the barrier, many of them wearing Estrella shirts. Singer Paul is a consummate showman, in complete contrast to what had come before and before the end of the first track they had the crowd eating out the palm of their hands. The Thurso lads are far more experienced, having toured Europe and with their second album due out in May and every bit of that experience showed. Paul clearly realised that the amount of space on stage was limited, so while they were setting up he placed a box at the front of stage to stand on, which brought him higher, closer to the crowd and further into the light. Great idea and it really worked. Wearing a Santa hat and handing out free beer didn’t do them any harm either! Nathan and Leo on bass and drums kept the gig moving along really strongly, with Leo looking like he was quite enjoying having his drums front and centre for a change. Lead guitarist Luke showboated for all he was worth, channelling Jimmy Page with his skinny as a rake figure and long wavy hair, playing with his teeth and at one point on his knees in the middle of the crowd. They closed with the ridiculously catchy Whatever It Is, a track I’ve previously reviewed for Planetmosh, and new single Here I Am, which is on course to be their biggest hit to date. The bands who played before them would do well to study Estrella on stage.
So with that marathon of support acts over it was after ten pm before Tigertailz took to the stage. I can only review the part of the gig I saw, as like I’ve already said it was a toss up between watching the whole gig and being stranded in Glasgow overnight, or leaving halfway through and catching the last train.
Tigertailz have recently returned from the Kiss Kruise, playing to a cruise ship full of rock fans sailing around the Bahamas. A rainy night in Glasgow and a half empty venue must have brought them back to earth with a thump, but to give them their due, they played as if they were in front of a crowd of thousands. Albeit with various changes in lineup this band has existed since the eighties, and their dedication to glam metal hasn’t wavered. That said, the music is fresh and up to date, they aren’t a band to rest on their laurels and keep dragging out the same old stuff. Singer Jules and guitarist Jay both chatted to the crowd, inviting them to have drinks after the show and saying how long it had been since they played Glasgow. Those fans who were there were loud and did their best to make as much noise as possible to build some atmosphere. They started the show with Shoot to Kill and except for a couple of pauses because of some technical difficulties they powered through their set, barely stopping for breath. The final track I heard was the very sweet (!) Tear your fucking heart out, which had Jules at one point so close to the fans he was literally leaning over the top of them.
Like I said Ivory Blacks is a good wee venue, if somewhat quiet, and for the fans in attendance the chance to get that close to the band was brilliant. It was a short gig for me, since I only saw half of it, but I’d certainly have liked to be able to hear more and look forward to that opportunity in the future.