Sometimes you go to a gig and everything just comes together and gives you an absolutely brilliant night. I’ve been critical of the O2 ABC2 in Glasgow before, having been to gigs where the lighting and sound were so bad I wished I hadn’t bothered going. Last night however I was pleasantly surprised to find that all that seems to have been sorted out, and not before time. All three bands on the bill last night gave it everything they had and deserved the higher standards the venue now seems to have.
Local band Mason Hill were asked to play at short notice and so I wasn’t even aware they were playing until I got there. I saw them open for Dyorlich at Ivory Blacks in the city a few months ago and they stuck in my head so I was more than happy to see them play again. They’re going into the studio to record their debut EP next week and I’ll look forward to hearing it. They played only a short five song set last night, and had a very early stage time but the growing crowd loved them. Singer Scott has a great rock voice, with a huge range and the band plays like they’ve been together a lot longer than they actually have. Tracks like Broken Son and Where I Belong went down really well and by the time they closed with debut single Now You See Me they had definitely made a lot of new fans. They’re a relatively new band but well worth keeping a look out for.
The main support for the night was Bad Touch. This was my third time seeing them, following an opening slot for Bonafide last year and a set at this year’s Wildfire Festival. I always look forward to seeing them, singer Stevie has a great voice, and an infectious enthusiasm, always performing with a big smile and looking like he’s having the best time in the world. He was left with very little room to manoeuvre last night. Once they set their own drum kit up in front of Snakecharmer’s massive kit he had about six inches at the front of the stage so dancing was out but he and the rest of the band still put on their usual tight performance. Opening with Waste my Time and Motherload from the album Half Way Home, released earlier this year, followed by the title track it soon became clear a fair proportion of the crowd were fans as they sang along. By this point the venue was the busiest I’ve ever seen it, with people standing on the seats at the back to get a better view. Bad Touch play a combination of rock and blues, great guitar solos, catchy hooks, and the occasional slice of harmonica that makes it impossible to stand still and before long the whole crowd was moving, nodding heads, tapping feet and generally having a great time. Wise Water was a highlight as was Good on Me, a song for the guys like Stevie who “don’t shop in the men’s section when they go to Next!” By the time they finished with Down I’d long since given up taking photos and was in the crowd, cheering and clapping with everyone else. They were brilliant as always, and I’d recommend anyone to get along to a Bad Touch show, just make sure you wear your dancing shoes.
After a short wait headline act Snakecharmer took to the stage to roars from the crowd, which by this time was at least five times bigger than any crowd I’ve previously seen at this venue. The band collectively has decades of experience in the music industry, having been part of Wishbone Ash, Thunder, Heartland, Ozzy Osbourne’s band and of course Whitesnake. Every bit of that experience was on show last night as they made their way through a set that was at times nothing short of extraordinary. They opened with Guilty as Charged and A Little Rock & Roll from the Snakecharmer album, then turned things up a notch with Whitesnake classic Ready An’ Willing. As they segued into an extended instrumental section I again put the camera down and watched as Micky Moody showed what it is to be a master at work. Accident Prone had the crowd singing along before singer Chris Ousey introduced Falling Leaves, “the closest thing to a ballad on the album.” The next track made me realise just how everlasting good music is. As they played Whitesnake classic Ain’t Gonna Cry No More Micky Moody asked who’d bought it when it came out in 1980. Well, sorry Micky, I didn’t, because I was a year old. But thirty five years on it’s still being played, and I appreciate its brilliance, and I hope that’s enough. As they made their way through the set it was the Whitesnake tracks that really stood out for me, in particular Crying in the Rain (“not bad for a load of old gits”). I may have been a baby when these songs were released but I bloody love Whitesnake and sang along happily with all the other old gits. Crying in the Rain was followed by a slide guitar solo from Micky Moody. As he took centre stage he made faces, mugged for the crowd and really rocked his top hat, but all the while was playing incredibly with the kind of ease that many musicians would give a limb for. The same goes for the whole band, the dual guitars of Moody and Laurie Wisefield were at times amazing, and drums from Harry James and bass from Neil Murray seemed to be played in perfect unison. Murray, a giant of a man, stood off to the side, never taking the limelight but at times pumping his fist in time with James’s drums, a smile on his face as if he couldn’t think of anywhere else he’d rather be. He wasn’t the only one. As they played the first track on the Snakecharmer album, My Angel, not a single person moved to leave, waiting for an encore. It was worth the wait as they played a trio of Whitesnake classics, Here I go Again, Take me With You and Fool for your Loving. At one point Ousey turned his microphone to the crowd, stood back and let them get on with it as they knew every word just as well his him.
It’s a bit weird to go see a band and sing along with every word to songs that are older than you are, but when the songs are this good it’s irrelevant how old they are. Snakecharmer brought their own brand of rock as well as classic Whitesnake to Glasgow last night and this old git loved every minute of it.[flickrapi user=”planet mosh” get=”photoset” id=”72157660420832760″ size=”z” count=”100″]