The Glasgow leg of the Futureheads tour in support of their new a cappella album ‘Rant’ ended with people literally dancing in the aisles.
That there were aisles at all is a novel thing for a band who would describe themselves as being punk musicians. The chairs lent a civilised air to a venue that was already pretty dignified to begin with. The occupants of the chairs, however, remained defiantly Glaswegian throughout.
In the main this expressed itself in a genial fashion. At one stage a particularly enthusiastic, and far from sober, lady at the front started pumping her fist in the air to the band’s close harmony singing. This led to the band joining in with big box, little box hand dancing.
There was a brief incident where a couple of audience members started hurling sectarian abuse at one another. In the main, the band’s good natured engagement with one another and with the audience helped to create a festive atmosphere.
The music itself comes across better live than it does on record. The folk ballads are just as lovely as they are on Rant but the covers and more upbeat songs are given an extra dimension in performance. This stands as a testament to the band’s skill as singers.
Old Dun Cow, a traditional drinking song about a pub burning down, stands out as a highlight. The song calls for the audience to stamp their feet and shout at certain points. The audience complied with lusty enthusiasm.
Beginning of the Twist, a slightly underpowered song when recorded with guitars, was reworked into a piece of Jewish wedding music. The result was a huge improvement and led to several audience members taking to the aisles in order to dance.
If there was anything disappointing about the gig it was that more people didn’t come to see a band who’ve been responsible for some of the best guitar music of the last decade. There were empty seats in a venue that the band could have filled a couple of times over a few years ago.
It’s possible that the experiment with a cappella singing put off people who would otherwise have turned up. If so, it’s their loss, as I’m sure the couple who staggered out of the aisle and onto the chairs, winding up rolling around on the floor, laughing and still holding hands would affirm.