Having extensively toured England together back in May, it was Scotland’s turn to host Baby Strange and White in what was to be both bands biggest hometown headline show to date at Glasgow’s O2 ABC.
Opening the show were The Cut and The Ninth Wave. The bands dived head first into their sets and didn’t look phased in the slightest at the size of the room. The disco ball alone was bigger than most of the venues I had played! The only issue was that the sound in the venue seemed to be going through the motions a bit for the first hour which was a shame.
After a short audio intro, which I unfortunately missed most of the content of due to being too engrossed in the Percy Pigs that I’d managed to successfully smuggle into the venue, WHITE walked on stage with the words “Fuck 2016” on the big screen behind them. A great way to get the audience on board before even playing a note.
I’ve been a fan of WHITE for a while, they’re one of those bands that’s impossible to dislike. So much effort is put into performance across the board, from the songs themselves down to the visuals, including an impressive backdrop and singer Leo’s brilliant matching silver eye make-up and jacket combo. Tonight was a defining moment for them, having seen the band at the 120 capacity Poetry Club last year, it was amazing to see them step up to nearly filling the 1300 capacity ABC alongside their mates.
The sound improved massively for the last two bands, with the drums in particular sounding huge during both sets.
Highlights included early singles ‘Blush’ and ‘Living Fiction’ The latter including Leo’s ex Low Miffs bandmate Tom Brogan on saxophone duties and an impressive string section, decked out in red jumpsuits. The stand out tracks were ‘I Liked You Better When You Needed Me’ which used the strings to awesome effect and the set closer ‘Future Pleasures’ which had the audience proper going for it and singing every word back to the band whilst also trying to set fire to the massive balloons that were thrown out from the stage in wonderful Glasgow fashion.
Baby Strange are another band that I’ve been a fan of for a while. They’ve been about for a good few years now, but this year has easily been their best. Having released their long awaited debut album ‘Want It Need It.’ this year, to end it with a show at a venue like the ABC clearly meant a lot to them as well as their fan-base that were out in huge numbers tonight.
With an impressive light show behind them, the three-piece launched straight into fan favourite ‘Pure Evil.’ I often worry when a band start with one of their best songs, but I had no such worry here as Baby Strange continued in fifth gear for the rest of their 45-minute set.
Early in the set, singer Johnny asks “How the fuck did we get here?” With heavy amounts of crowd-surfing during ‘Luver’ ‘Pleasure City’ and last song ‘Friend’ and the crowd singing back every word, it’s not hard to see why they’ve got to where they are tonight. Another great moment was their cover of fellow Glasgow band, The Lapelles song ‘Snakehips’ An emotional part of the night for many, given the tragic loss of Gary Watson earlier this year. That part really reinforced how close a connection the music community in Glasgow has with one another.
This gig was a real triumph for everyone involved and a great way to end a hugely successful year for these bands. I read an article recently where the WHITE singer said the most important part of playing live was leaving nothing on stage and giving it your all. The only thing WHITE and Baby Strange left on stage was sweat, burst balloons and memories of a triumphant gig.