Words: Justin Hulford.
It was nice to get across the country easily for a change (no idea why!) and as a result we were half a row back from the rail and well placed for the support. It was intriguing to see the place fill up for The Sheepdogs.
They delivered a very solid set with superb sound, despite our forward position, and they displayed incredibly accurate timing. They offered up a succession of bluesy rock numbers, leaning most to the blues than the rock, and were enjoyable if perhaps a tad samey.
It has to be added that a lot of their performance relied on the clear chemistry between guitarist/vocalist Ewan Currie and bassist Ryan Gullen but the rest all played their parts. They hail from Canada, where tonight’s main act will head for eleven dates in March, and certainly did the place proud with tonnes of support from the crowd. Perhaps a little too light for my own taste but a good unit at what they do.
Moving forward, this appears to be the first UK dates for a while for the main act and coincides with their new album. That very much sounds like The Temperance Movement so it was unsurprising to hear the newer tracks slot easily into the set.
From the off vocalist Phil Campbell was at his very best – cavorting, gurning, kind of dancing and just entertaining. He took time out to chastise a couple of over exuberant fans but didn’t let it stop him. He was clearly delighted to be back home in Glasgow, offering some disparaging comments about everywhere else, and delivered.
It’s interesting for a band that seems to be growing all the time that they have gone to a bigger venue but haven’t gone daft on the pricing – £18 including fees is reasonable for anything. For a band well on its game it’s exceptional value! It’s that sort of ethos that pervades the music. It is full of raw energy, genuine connections with the fans and lots of fun.
The fact that they can do it so well definitely helps. Every department was tight, including the relatively new second guitarist, and their set absolutely flew by. Again Phil reminded me of Jagger and Stewart in their fullest pomp whilst somehow creating his own thing. The bigger stage just seemed to encourage him to prance all the more.
It’s funny though that yet again this band of extreme high energy really comes into its own when breaking it down, turning up the mellow and going for the softer blues vibe that is present, if not always heard, throughout their songs. Yet again the set was diverse, varied and far reaching, big numbers growing with each play and such is their material that a big song, Chinese Lanterns, can be omitted.
They conjure up a richly reminiscent sound with their own clear stamp all over it. I did suggest last time that you grab a ticket, and am moved to say so again.