The last Friday before Christmas is traditionally party night in Glasgow and what better night out than in the company of two of Scotland’s finest bands namely Gun and King King. It was good to see a healthy audience in the Barrowlands as gig goers were spoilt for choice across the city with everyone from Ghost to Texas and Big Country playing in town on the same night.
Both Gun and King King have a faithful local following and a good crowd had gathered in time for Alan Nimmo and his merry band hitting the stage. This was my first encounter with King King but I have read many a glowing review in the past year, several from my fellow scribes at GRTR! I was interested to see if the band lived up to the hype.
Wearing his trademark kilt and Stratocaster, Alan Nimmo dominated the front of the stage whilst playing some of the finest blues guitar I have heard in a while. The band have toured extensively over the past year and proved to be a very tight unit.
Playing a mix of material from their three albums, including a few from their 2015 release, Reaching For The Light, the set had the crowd grooving along. Highlights included ‘Rush Hour’, ‘Jealousy’ and the excellent slow blues of set closer ‘Stranger To Love’.
The set was fairly short but the band did enough to convince me and many others in the hall that the honeyed words written by others are more than justified. By the look on Alan Nimmo’s face as he took a bow I think he and the rest of the band were more than happy with their night’s work as well.
Tonight’s Gun set, as we found out later in the show, was very nearly cancelled at the 11th hour as Dante Gizzi was feeling well below par. A trip to the doctor for a vitamin B12 jab and enough cold remedies to floor a horse had roused him enough to take to the stage, what a trooper!
His decision to carry on with the show though was justified within the first few bars of opener ‘Borrowed Time’ as the faithful went suitably mental. This may have been due in no small part I suspect to the fact that the 18th December had been deemed the alcohol ‘Black Friday’ of 2015 where it was expected that more drink would be consumed than on any other day this year, as if Glaswegians need an excuse!
The set carried on at full pelt with ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’, and ‘Better Days’, the crowd happy to sing along with every word. Like King King Gun have spent most of the year on the road, I actually made it to both the opening night of the tour in Edinburgh and to this, the final date of 2015. The first show had been a showcase gig for the band’s latest album, ‘Frantic’, and the Gun onstage tonight was an altogether more confident and tighter unit than on that opening night.
Dante’s ill health didn’t affect his vocals too badly and the guitar work from Jools and Johnny McGlynn was excellent throughout. The set mostly stuck to the greatest hits format with a couple of covers thrown in including the Hot Chocolate classic ‘Every One’s A Winner’.
The latest material was not neglected though with a few tracks from Frantic being aired including the title track and the latest single ‘Hold Your Head Up’. By the last few numbers Dante was visibly starting to wilt. The guys soldiered on though and took things to a climactic end with a double of ‘Inside Out’, which included a snippet of the Police track ‘So Lonely’, and a blistering version of ‘Word Up’.
After a few minutes Jools and Dante returned to the stage to play the opening of ‘Taking On The World’, complete with the full crowd on backing vocals, before the rest of the band took to the stage to finish the track. That just left ‘Shame On You’ to round off an excellent show and just about finish off Dante!
This was Gun’s second Barrowlands show this year and again it was a triumphant homecoming for one of Scotland’s best loved and enduring bands. The fact that the show went on at all in the circumstances was testament to the Gun philosophy that the fans come first. This message was something which was not lost on those present and the reason that they will be back at the next round of gigs, hopefully with Dante in better health!
Review and photos by David Wilson
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