Rewind: Glasvegas at the Black Cat

Rewind brings you the scoop on what went down the night before. Thursday night, we checked out the hype surrounding Scottish rockers Glasvegas.
Photo of Glasvegas’ James Allan by Kyle Gustafson.

The Black Cat, the unassuming rock venue on DC’s 14th Street, Northwest, is not a place anyone would ever mistake for an arena. The space fits just a few hundred concertgoers; hipsters mill about drinking beer, and the low, dark ceiling gives the room a distinctly cave-like feel.

But when Scottish rockers Glasvegas took the stage at for a sold-out show Thursday night, the Black Cat may as well have been an arena, for all anybody could tell—or care.

Bringing with them a wall of pounding, slow-building guitar rock as well as a pretty snazzy light show and a smoke machine, Glasvegas put on a 45-minute set worthy of a much larger venue.

Take the fact that Glasvegas frontman James Allan clearly thinks he is, as a friend of ours noted, the “Scottish version of Bono” (and as his theatrics and semi-self-important stage presence attested), combined with the band’s larger-than-life sound and devoted fans who sang along with every word (a few even brought Scottish flags to wave), and you have a band that might have more in common with U2 than it’s willing to admit.

Not that that’s a bad thing. Despite the band’s seriousness (you’re playing a rock show, guys, not solving world hunger—lighten up a bit onstage), Glasvegas has the musical chops and big-sounding, powerful, and moving songs necessary to be playing big arena shows soon. If you were at the Black Cat last night, count yourself lucky you saw the band when you did: Next time it plays DC, it’ll be at a much more impersonal venue.

Photo by Kyle Gustafson

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