Glasvegas – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 28, 2009

March 30th, 2009
Photo: Peter Mallet

Photo: Peter Mallet

For a band that’s only got one record, Glasvegas inspires a rather serious degree of reverence even far away from their hometown of Glasgow. The crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday seemed split into two distinct camps: the true believers, who from the opening chords immediately lost themselves in a worshipful state, wrapped their arms around their pals and belted out the words to every song, and the merely curious, who had heard about this strange, powerful phenomenon and wanted to see it for themselves.

Lead singer James Allan does provide quite the spectacle. The former professional soccer player has a giant, bellowing voice and a physique that looks like he’s spent a lot of time hefting cinder blocks. He took the stage in the traditional rock ’n’ roll outlaw uniform of a black-leather jacket and black jeans and launched his four-piece band right into their first single, “Geraldine,” about a social worker. This is a band that sings about getting through hard times, and that message obviously has resonance right now.

In their earliest incarnations, Glasvegas had a somewhat more nuanced sound—there was a ’50s rock element, including even a bit of doo-wop. Those influences are less apparent now, as the band prefers a straighter blend of big sing-along melodies and big echoing guitars, à la U2. The believers soaked it all up, and at least a few of the merely curious were converted. By the closing number, it seemed like nobody could resist joining in and crying out, “Get away, get away, get a fucking go!” —Joey Pisarcik