The Best Shows Are Always The Unexpected Ones ft. Swallows

The Best Shows Are Always The Unexpected Ones ft. Swallows

Shows are possibly the best part of being in a band. The logistics of show is possibly the worst part of being a band. Swallows were due to start an 8 day tour last week. Following a disastrous series of events, that will probably happen to every band at some pint that cut to 5, then 3 and then ultimately 2. That being the case, how much could the band expect of a Glasgow show on a rainy and freezing weekday night in March?

As it happened though, it might just have been the best show the band have ever played. So swings and roundabouts and all that. Though, disappointingly they never did follow through on that Busted cover they kept announcing before every song. I feel betrayed.

Swallows // photograph by Calum McMillan
Swallows // photograph by Calum McMillan

Possibly the band’s frenetic live show in Nice ‘n’ Sleazys was fuelled by the frustraion of their continually collapsing plans, or possibly it was just the happiest of accidents. I’m not sure it really matters. For an intense half hour to 40 mins Swallows turned a small basement in the city centre of Glasgow into one of those shows we’re all told exist in the sacred halls of underground alternative music, but that don’t actually come around all that often.

Swallows // photograph by Calum McMillan
Swallows // photograph by Calum McMillan

The harsh reality of most shows is thus: most people there are genuinely really into the music, but beyond the heartfelt cheers at the end of songs, they’re unlikely to get more involved. It’s unimaginable difficult to break that uncertain and self-concious wall between crowd and artist when you’re still this deep underground. Which is why you’re probably just as well just throwing yourself over it and into the crowd.

Crowd surfing in a venue as tight as this isn’t easy. It says a lot about the commitment of this band, and of this crowd, that it happened more than once on Thursday night.

Swallows // photograph by Calum McMillan
Swallows // photograph by Calum McMillan

If all small shows by underground band’s were like this then bands would always be playing to packed sweat boxes instead of their significant others, the sound guy and the bar staff. On the other hand, if every gig was like this then we wouldn’t really understand just how good this gig was.

The underground, particularly in Scotland, is full of incredibly talented artists playing shows, releasing records and haphazardly touring every night of the week. Most of those shows are great and a handful are like this. You should try and go to more of them.

Because if you keep missing shows like this you’re absolutely missing out. And if you missed this show because you were at the money grabbing, choreographed and totally banal bullshit of McBusted you should just feel ashamed. Charlie Simpson isn’t even in that band, and he had the best hair anyway.

\\click images for full screen slide show//

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