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Monday, 7 November 2011

The Dark Shadows - The Garage - Glasgow - 7/11/11

Another gig, and another low turn out.
This time it is the turn of The Dark Shadows to be playing to a crowd that could be counted using two hands and half of one foot. Or just two hands of you come from the land of the six fingered banjo players as I do.
It's not the usual apathy that's at the root of the problem though, but instead its second cousin zero promotion.
Both seem to be equally at home hammering nails into the live music scenes coffin though.
So let's be brutally honest about this show.
There's something far wrong when a mate in Australia can tell you about a gig taking place in Glasgow but no one knows anything about it locally. (Thanks Al)
No posters, unless you count the photocopied ones in the stairwell of the venue on the night, no flyers, no mention on the venues own website and nothing in the press.
Fuckin' useless.
The only way my mate in Oz knew about it was because he was following the bands tour on facebook. So unless you were checking daily on their updates you would be completely in the dark about certain dates that had been added.
Now I've said this before, but maybe it's worth repeating that if a gig is treated like a state secret with details only being made available to the public after a request is made under the freedom of information act then you can be sure of one thing, and that's that it will bomb.
This gig may as well been part of some witness relocation scheme with everything about it wrapped up in a file with 'on a need to know' basis stamped on it's buff sleeve
None of this is the fault of the band though.
As they're based in Australia the tour is booked on a sight unseen basis.
They don't know the venues, the local acts that would complement them as a support, or if there is even a fan base for what they do that they can tap into.
It's all done on trust, and when it all goes wrong, as it did in Glasgow, then it provides the band with a skewed impression of the UK music scene with the worst case scenario being that they don't come back.
I could be wrong, but the four friends that I dragged along and myself may well have been the only members of the audience who paid to get into this show with the remainder of the audience being made up of members of the support bands.
That's how bad this was.
It really is to the bands credit that they didn't let the low turn out phase them and still played a fantastic gig.
In still giving it their all they displayed a professional attitude that should shame the people who promoted the gig on their behalf.
From opening the set with Alien Movies they moved swiftly into Invisible and followed that with Sleeping with a Vampyre, and in the space of those three songs they went from being a band that my friends were taking a chance on to one who they were thankful of getting the opportunity to see.
Requiem and Denial came next, both from the Invisible ep, and kept the pace going before the band ran into airing four tracks from the forthcoming 11.11 mini album.
The new songs, Dark Shadow, Blame, Eisbar and Written in the Snow all highlighted that on a musical level the band are still moving forward and refusing to let themselves be pinned down.
The set had a real chronological flow to it with those in attendance being able to see where the band came from, and where they are going.
It would be fair to say that there's no real feeling of their rockabilly and punk roots in the new material but instead a real sense of the grandeur of certain goth bands like the Sisters of Mercy being dragged into the present coupled with an unmistakable nod to the isolationist oeuvre ploughed by Joy Division.
The ghost of the eighties is certainly there in what they are doing, but instead of overshadowing everything it instead adds a frisson of familiarity that works as a reference point to leap forward from. A very nice touch that provides a great live experience.
All things considered I would have to say that regardless of finding out about this at the last minute, the scrambling about to get people to go, the hassle of trying to sort out travelling arrangements to get there and back and all the other obstacles that sometimes felt insurmountable the Dark Shadows made it a very enjoyable experience.
For those who missed out.......well don't blame yourself, or The Dark Shadows.
Blame the lack of promotion and get on their facebook page to say that if they come back you will endeavour to attend.
Big shout out and mucho respect to Cass, Sandie Noone, John Milligan and Abi Sociopath for making the effort to go and see the band on my recommendation.

1 comment:

  1. Fuck. Thats harsh man. Good band to.
    On any night in most major cities people have their pick of shows to go to and if your band is playing you have to get the date and venue name out there, or make sure the promoter does.
    If that doesn't happen then you are fucked.