Apologies for starting with a bit of a rant but this gig was blighted with a phenomenon which has become all too familiar at gigs these days. There are many pubs and clubs around Glasgow where people can go for a drink and a chat, so why then do people feel the need to pay to go to a gig only to stand and talk loudly throughout the show?
The level of background chatter during both bands’ sets was shocking, especially through quieter passages. I recently saw a t-shirt which read ‘The band are on – shut the f**k up!’, I may have to invest…
This minor annoyance didn’t mar the evening’s proceedings too much as two of Scotland’s finest exponents of prog rock graced the Classic Grand stage once again. Comedy Of Errors are becoming a perennial support at Pallas gigs and no one in the hall tonight was complaining. Joe Cairney was in good voice as the band played through newer material from their latest album, ‘Fanfare and Fantasy’, and a few old favourites.
The band’s ranks have been bolstered by a second guitarist, Mark Spalding, and the twin guitars were put to good use with some great playing throughout. The biggest cheer went up when Joe introduced a couple of sections from the fan favourite, ‘The Student Prince’, which went down a storm and saw Joe heading out into the crowd for a few handshakes and half of someone’s pint!
The downside of being a prog support band though is how few songs you can fit into your allotted time and after only 5 songs Comedy Of Errors left the stage to great applause, another solid set done.
After a quick set change legendary rock DJ Tom Russell took to the stage to introduce Pallas, a band he has championed from their very early days. The set kicked off with the rocking ‘Falling Down’ which certainly woke the crowd up.
The main purpose of these live dates, this was the first of three, is to promote the latest Pallas album ‘Wearewhoweare’ which came out at the tail end of 2014 and the next four tracks were all taken from said album.
Starting with ‘Dominion’ and running through ‘New Life’ and ‘Harvest Moon’ amongst others the new material sounded fresh and strong. Paul Mackie continues to impress in the frontman slot, a position he has now made his own, and his vocal delivery was spot on throughout.
‘Ratracing’ provided a blast from the past with Graeme Murray providing lead vocals at parts and a rock solid bassline. More new tracks followed, apparently there was heated discussion within the Pallas ranks as to how much of the new album should be featured and in the end the decision appears to have been ‘sod it, we will play most of it!’. The powerful ‘Ghostdancers’ was accompanied by projections of Native Americans which added to the atmospheric track.
‘Midas Touch’ featured great guitar work from Niall Mathewson as did ‘Cut And Run’ which brought back memories of the early Pallas gigs in the Dial Inn in Glasgow more years ago than I care to remember.
After a quick break, Paul Mackie re-emerged with Ronnie Brown on keyboards to play ‘In Cold Blood’, again from’ Wearewhoweare’. Mackie put in a great performance even if he was up against the chattering fraternity. Things were then rounded off in rocking fashion with the epic ‘Cross And The Crucible’ and ‘Arrive Alive’ with the usual crowd singalong.
According to the band they were under-rehearsed for this gig but it was hard to see where things could have improved. The gamble in playing so many new tracks paid off and provided a fresh setlist littered with enough oldies to keep the die-hard fans happy. Hopefully more dates will follow as the band are in good form and the new material deserves to be heard in the live setting.
Review and photos by David Wilson
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