Amidst the corona virus outbreak, events have been getting cancelled left, right and centre. There has been mass hysteria amongst the mainstream media, and the public are stockpiling on toilet paper. If everything feels a bit end-of-days then luckily The Subways have persevered and their gig at the Garage this evening goes ahead. Celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of their debut album ‘Young For Eternity’, it is down to them to rekindle the glory days and help the hardy souls brave enough to leave their house immerse themselves in live music.
Opening the show are Art Brut, who arrive onstage to a criminally empty venue, given a ridiculously early stage time. Equipped with great indie rockers, complete with humour and wit, they are also celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of their debut album ‘Bang Bang Rock & Roll’. Opening with the intro to ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, frontman Eddie Argos joins his band onstage as they launch into a raucous ‘Formed A Band’. The excellent ‘My Little Brother’ follows, which is extended by Argos chatting to the crowd. Ever the showman, he is hilarious and engaging as the crowd grows bigger in number. Releasing their first album in seven years in 2018, the five-piece have lost none of their relevancy, with ‘She Kissed Me (And It Felt Like A Hit)’ and ‘Hospital!’ sounding like classic Art Brut, and do not feel out of place amongst fan favourites like the impassioned ode to lost love ‘Emily Kane’ and rifftastic ‘Direct Hit’. Ending on a terrific ‘Post Soothing Out’, Argos and his band leave the stage to the sort of appreciation usually reserved for a headliner.
The Subways will be well aware that they need to be on their game to follow their tour buddies, and they waste no time in asserting their authority over their dedicated following. Opening with ‘I Want To Hear What You’ve Got To Say’, bassist Charlotte Cooper throws herself around the stage, and continues to do so for the whole set. The grungey riffs of ‘Holiday’ provoke the first pit before the trio’s biggest hit ‘Rock & Roll Queen’ sends the crowd absolutely apeshit, with every lyric screamed back at them. Frontman Billy Lunn states that they usually play it live for longer than its three minute run time, and hints that they may do it properly later in the set.
‘Young For Eternity’ was written when the band were teenagers and on the live front, the angst which permeates the lyrics is still prevalent. It helps that none of the band appear to have aged at all, and the roaring guitars of the title track and ‘City Pavement’ still show a maturity that was beyond their years, and both tracks have aged extremely well.
Frontman Lunn has a smile permanently affixed to his face and is genuinely appreciative of the crowd this evening. Both he and Cooper reminisce of great times had in the city over the years, and Lunn exclaims his love for Scotland at numerous points through the set. After reluctantly agreeing to a thoroughly Glaswegian “taps aff” request showing off his heavily-tattooed torso, he challenges the requester to do the same, to which he obliges. Perhaps inadvisable during a viral pandemic, it shows the bond between the band and fanbase which has remained for these fifteen years. After a wonderful ‘She Sun’, revealing a hidden highlight on the album, the band close with a rollicking rendition of debut single ‘At 1am’ before taking a short breather ahead of a set of hits from their later records.
The band return to the stage and waste little time in cranking the energy levels back up with the goofy pop-punk of ‘We Don’t Need Money To Have A Good Time’ and the irresistibly catchy chorus of ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’, proof if it was needed that The Subways’ back catalogue is filled with gems. Rushing through the rest of the set to comply with the early curfew imposed by the venue, the band manage to find enough time to end on the classic, extended version of ‘Rock & Roll Queen’, complete with Lunn flinging himself into the crowd.
As the band leave the stage to a rapturous reception, it is refreshing to see an album anniversary tour which is abundantly apparent is not being used as a cash cow. With new material due next year (one track is premiered this evening), there is still much more to come from The Subways.
A photo gallery of the show is available to view at the following link (All Photographs courtesy of Stewart Iain Fullerton Photography):
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