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American Music Club – Stereo, Glasgow

By Vespertine;

AMC’s last gig in Glasgow, earlier this year, was to promote newest album ‘The Golden Age’ and the gig just did not come off as it should have. The playing was stilted, and robotic, and Mark Eitzel’s guitar playing not strong enough to carry the songs. They also seemed unable to work out some of the back catalogue and so fans were thrown very few bones from the band’s incredible body of work. It was not a bad gig but just not incendiary as it should have been.

Would this be any different? Well the news filtering through from cyberspace was encouraging. The band had a new bassist and a new lead guitarist (both members of sometime AMC support band and friends from LA ‘Bee & Flower’) and Eitzel was singing; no guitar, no props, just microphone. Eitzel is a notoriously ‘passionate’ performer and can easily be discouraged or distracted mid set, or even mid song. This role would require discipline and focus. Fingers crossed.

A satisfyingly decent crowd gathered in a strange venue with poor-ish sightlines due to pillars placed liberally throughout the venue. They
might hold the roof up, but don’t improve the prospects of seeing anything from halfway back. The band strolled on and burst into ‘What Godzilla Said To God..’ from landmark album ‘Mercury’. (‘Landmark’ here means it was on a major label, should have sold, and was over budget and flopped in a strangely not that unexpected way. We AMC fans are used to fearing the worst). It was tight, rhythmic and the sound was perfect…music showcasing the vocals, not drowning them out or competing with them in a band where the lyrics really matter this was crucial.

The set list mixed songs from The Golden Age with some classics. Highlights for me were ‘Nightwatchman’ and ‘Apology for an Accident’. He then dusted down ‘What Holds The World Together’ which is a beautiful track, and one I haven’t heard live for a long time.

Some problems crept in near the end as Eitzel became aware that the venue wanted to let the DJs set up…this was ridiculous as it was only 10pm at this stage! He seemed agitated and this left the set shortened and only one encore was played. Eitzel described ‘Windows on the World’ as his favourite song at the moment: “I know you want the old, old sh**, but I want this and we only have time for one song” and the version was blistering: a tale of drink, drugs and laughter with Kid Congo Powers (ex Bad Seed) in the restaurant so shortly afterwards to be destroyed on 9/11.

Then they were gone. So an artistic re-birth but a sad indictment of modern music where bands are hassled and cajoled to make way for DJ’s. What sound check to DJs need?! Artists deserve respect and Stereo will need to handle this better: £17 for an hour and a shorter set than delivered in Belfast or Manchester. Is that fair?

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3 Responses

  1. No, it isn’t and you can bet the DJ’s music wasd a lot poorer than the stuff he’d just pulled the plug on.

  2. It was a great gig – shocked to see it reviewed! AMC are usually an ‘aquired taste’!

  3. Vespertine’s a fucking weirdo, to be fair.

    He owns property in the hills where he spends his day pretending to shoot pigeons and making that ‘pee-YOW!’ bullet noise kids make.

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