Glasvegas and Ida Maria at Webster Hall – 30 March 2009
Monday evening was mad hectic, ladies and gentlemen. I was in class until 5:25, then I had to run the hell over to my room and put my books away and grab my ticket and run to the D train, then I had to run to W. 13th St. to meet my auntie for dinner, then time slipped away and it was 9:07 so I had to rush out and I ran (this time literally) to Webster Hall to catch Ida Maria’s opening set supporting Glasvegas.
I had bought tickets on the strength of a few good songs and a huge wave of NME-related hype for Glasvegas. For a while, I had been listening to a collection of their older recordings called Home Tapes, a torrent of which I had picked up in August. I somehow hadn’t heard much about them before that, despite their single Daddy’s Gone’s having been named the number two single of 2007 by the NME. I half-expected the show to sell out and give me the option of selling the pair, perhaps at a slight profit for my troubles. When Ida Maria was added to the bill, I became more excited about actually seeing the show, especially since I had been out of town for her first two New York shows.
She’s really rather fantastic. I love her album, Fortress Round My Heart, and her voice is even rawer and more frayed live, though she and her band are still tight and technically competent. I think she had a cold, but the cracks and friction in her chest only made her sound better, in my opinion.
She was done quickly, though I wouldn’t be surprised if she had made it through her whole album, since it clocks in at a mere 31 minutes. Glasvegas took the stage at a couple minutes past ten, with the swagger of a band whose sound is meant for arenas. Their sound, influenced by bands like My Bloody Valentine the same way U2 are, is not entirely different from a lot of the bands I see frequently, but the attitude that goes along with it sets them apart from the effects pedal-happy Brooklyn crowd. I’m not usually one for bombast, but I will admit to enjoying a bit of stadium-sized ambition once in a while, especially when it plays out in a club many times smaller than the average venue that the band is really meant to play. The other great thing about seeing a band like Glasvegas in a smaller club is the serious light show they provide. During slower songs the room would be pitch black with just two spotlights backlighting dramatically the band members, especially lead singer James Allan and his cousin, lead guitarist Rab Allan, or else the Webster Hall disco ball might be put to use, along with the classic starry background onstage, which effect I don’t think I’ve seen since Muse at MSG way back when.
I don’t have a set list, so sorry for that. I tried to get one, but the first roadie just kind of ignored me and the second caved in to his baser desires and gave the last one to an undeserving girl. The set was short, in any event — about 40 minutes, plus a ten-minute encore. Because of their sonic consistency — distorted guitar wash, Edge-like lead, and Phil Spector drums — many of the songs blended together, which effect would only have been magnified by a longer set. They played all the songs that I like, except for their cover of Be My Baby, which would have been cool, but which I wasn’t really expecting to happen anyway. Highlights for me were Flowers and Football Tops and encore and evening closer Daddy’s Gone. All in all, I enjoyed myself, but I couldn’t see myself buying more expensive tickets to see Glasvegas, or going to see them in a bigger venue.music comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.