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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Night of the living (brain) dead. (30 Seconds to Mars) Glasgow SECC

I hate the SECC as a venue.
It’s a cavernous hall that sucks all that is good about live music from the atmosphere.
It’s just a big square multi-purpose box that you can shove anything in.
There is no connection between the venue and the events that are held in it.
Honestly, it has no real history and zero character to it.
Its purpose is to be a blank space and nothing more.

Occasionally a band can manage to distract the crowd from their surroundings by delivering a memorable show, but the bands that can do that are the legends with decades of experience and a back catalogue of excellence to dip into.
The rest, while possibly riding high in popularity, and able to draw a large crowd, fall short in creating the right atmosphere.

Part of the problem most definitely lies with the crowds they attract to.

At this show I was surrounded by people who I had nothing in common with.
The sort who have probably never ever been to a gig in a bar or a club and only start to key into a band once they reach platinum status.
The sort whose CD collection reflects the top ten album chart with some compilations thrown in to shake things up a bit.
The sort who discover bands from hearing adverts on the television.
The sort who honestly believe that the band they are watching are the best in the whole wide world until the next band who are the best in the whole wide world come along a week later.
They treat music like fast food. It’s for instant consumption and always disposable.
Their appreciation of music is the polar opposite of my own.

Is that a rather scathing view of them?
It probably is, but when you have stood with a teenager behind you talking about how hot Jared of 30 Seconds to Mars is in a loud and abrasive whine, and how she is going to see this band and that band, with all of them being currently massive, it’s difficult to dredge any other opinion up.
Add in that this sort of conversation is being had no matter where you stand and it becomes depressingly repetitive.

A million and one little things were starting to notch my stress levels up bit by bit and the gig hadn't even started.
Then the lights dimmed and the crowd roared like a pack of Pavlov’s dogs conditioned to react at the slightest sign that the show is about to begin.
It’s mass hysteria.
I could close my eyes and imagine a chicken drumstick being thrown into a pit of pin heads and then open them and fail to see what was different.
A huge chunk of them are only screaming because other people surrounding them are.
They probably have no idea what just happened. I doubt they are even screaming out of excitement. It’s just that it seems to be the done thing to do.
I'm at a gig and people are screaming ergo I must scream to.
Then the lights came back on.
After that they dim and rise a few more times and the reaction is the same each time.
Someone is taking the piss.

It’s fair to say, and pretty obvious, that even before the first band appeared I was already disinclined to enjoy myself.
So it’s also fair to say that Lost Alone were already going to struggle to win me over, but I didn't expect them to go hell for leather to make an already crap night worse for me.
I went from being suicidal to homicidal by the time they hit the midway point of their first song.
As they are signed to Sire/Warner I can only presume that they are a tour buy on as there is no way that they got the slot based on talent.
They are possibly the worst band that I have ever seen in my entire life and for some strange reason some people were cheering them.
Okay I can accept that we don’t all like the same things, but these guys are an atrocity of a band with no saving graces at all.
The people who are cheering could be sectioned off into three groups.
Friends and relatives, semi conscious drunks and fuckers whose ears are painted on.
They introduce their bassist as originally coming from Glasgow and claim that the gig is like a homecoming for them.
Do I care?
Do I fuck.
There is a reason the bassist no longer lives in Glasgow and I suspect it’s because he was run out of town for being a skinny cunt with a stupid haircut and no taste in music.
Lucky for him that’s the criteria for being a member of the band though.
Three songs in and I'm thinking that if I murdered them then a judge would be sure to be lenient if he was aware of what they sounded like.
It could even be argued that I was doing the public a service.
The drummer thrashes away like he has tourettes of the wrists, the lanky bassist fannies about raising his fist in the air doing the devil horn thing so often that it could be an involuntary twitch and the singer/guitarist is just a fret wanking prick.
That someone from a label has listened to these guys and signed them is proof that being deaf ddoesn'thave to be a barrier to working in the music industry.
By the time they did their shit ‘we love you Glasgow’ and fucked off I was a seething ball of hate.

Then over the monitors they started to play Janes Addiction and they acted like a salve to my aching ears and psych.

Next band up were the Street Drum Corp who are probably responsible for stopping me going on a spree killing with my bare hands.
They’re hard to hang any one influence on. They start of with three members playing drums at the front of the stage like a tribal intro to the Nuremburg Rally before settling into a set that touches on industrial noise, dance rhythms, punk rock guitars and glam punk vocals.
They really are a singular concept and one that pushes convention to the limits.
If this is what they can bring to a large venue then a small club would barely be able to contain them.
By now the edge is starting to come off my rage, but their set is far to short to completely relax me.
No sooner have the left the stage and the crowd start getting on my tits again.

I’d have drowned myself in alcohol, but you would need a bank loan for a pint and a second mortgage if you wanted to get a buzz on so I stood still and seethed inwardly until 30 Seconds to Mars come on.
Once they do it’s text book big band schtick though.
Lighting, check, screens, check, can I hear a fuck yeah, check, Blah, blah bah de fuckin’ blah.
Here is a band who can play, the singer can carry a tune and they have bags of energy, but all they are doing is the same old same old clichéd bollocks.
Then Jared asks for a circle pit and people comply, then he asks for people to move out five feet, and they do and then another five and like sheeple they follow his commands.
He must have been hard at the power he commanded.
A little latter he asks everyone in the auditorium to take three steps forwards and I’m pushed forward by the mindless drones.
Then it’s back to working on the size of the pit again. Yaaaaaaaawn. Oh, and in between this they separate the crowd for a bit of shouting and singing a few times to.
Strangely enough for a band who want people to be environmentally conscious and to question the policies of the world leaders they seem to get off on crowd control, and the audiences passive acceptance of this is really at the crux of what pisses me off about them.
Kelly can’t see anything due to being a vertically challenged even more so than myself so we exit the crowd and go to stand at the back of the hall.
Coincidentally enough this is when Jared decides to appear in the seating for an acoustic rendition of one of their songs.
He’s only about 12 feet away from us and Kelly films it all on her phone.
It’s the highlight of the night for her. For me, well I was thinking that I could probably scar him with a well aimed pound coin from my pocket.
Then there was more of the same stuff and just as I was thinking that I was going to have to go outside and wait for Kelly for the sake of my own sanity it ended.
I don’t think that I will be back at the SECC and if I am then it is going to have to be a band that I am willing to put all my reservations of the venue aside for.
Utterly shit.
There you go. You don't get a review like that in the NME do you?

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