Glasvegas: the name looks good on a marquee. I immediately think, Vegas, baby, Vegas! and then, This is going to be fun. Three nights ago at Webster Hall, a dreary Monday felt like a Saturday as Glasvegas unleashed their brand of rousing rock on a packed house.
New York crowds are famously shitty. I say this as a sourpuss who’s sometimes party to the blame. But Monday was an exception to prove the rule. Spirits were up all around, certainly thanks in part to opening act, Ida Maria.
The awesome, raging Norwegian songstress came on stage in a beaded gold fringe minidress, hair all over the place, looking like a mad disco princess and announced, Im sorry, I have PMS. Everything is pissing me off. Honey, you dont have to apologize. All I know is, I want you on my side in a fight.
Ida sounds like a cross between Fiona Apple and Janis Joplin. She lets out feral cries thatll stop you dead in your tracks. She blasted through songs from her album Fortress Around My Heart including “I Like You Better When You’re Naked” (alternate lyric: “I like me better when you’re naked”), “Stella”, and “Oh My God”. Her banshee wail sent a shiver up my spine. Definitely, a performer to hear live.
Glasvegas came on about 10pm. If you knew the words (which I didnt always, and I was one of the few), you had to join in. James Allan doesnt sing songs, he delivers anthems. Case in point, “It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry” and “Flowers and Football Tops”. I heard someone call him a Joe Strummer-wannabe, but I dont see the resemblance unless physically. Vocally he has more in common with Bono.
Glasvegas has that sweeping U2-ish grandeur that makes a Bono comparison inevitable. (Fittingly, the band will soon please thousands opening for U2 in the UK this summer.) The sound is LARGE, commanding. For crowd-pleaser “Daddy’s Gone” the room serenaded Allan with his own words. He looked genuinely a bit moved. The end of the night felt more or less like a pub sing-along. I kept wanting to raise my plastic cup in someone’s honor. Glasvegas, baby?