Glasvegas (10:00 PM)

Gliss (9:00 PM)

Wed, June 8, 2011

8:00 pm


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This event is all ages

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Glasvegas - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Sunsets over Santa Monica... Blade Runner On The Beach... Bono serenading you on the pitch at Wembley Stadium... it couldn't be further from the east end of Glasgow and yet, for Glasvegas, the spirit remains the same: passion. Since their debut eponymous masterpiece in September 2008 (critically-lauded, platinum-selling, Mercury Prize nominated in 2009), the Glaswegian four-piece have seen things we wouldn't believe: relentless global touring throughout the UK, Europe, Japan and America (a marathon six U.S. tours from October 2008 to September 2009), support tours with Oasis, Kings of Leon and U2, a myriad global festivals from Roskilde to Glastonbury, Benicassim to T in the Park and nominations for awards throughout the musical spectrum: NME, Q, Mojo, UK Music Video, Mercury Prize, XFM, Vodofone, UK Festival, Tartan Clef and the Rockbjornen Awards in Sweden, where Glasvegas are particularly loved. "It's been the best time of my life and a pure learning experience as well," avers the ever-poetic James Allan, formidably gifted vocalist, lyricist and chief songwriter. "I've seen a lot of beauty. And noticed it and totally cherished it. With a few shadows following me home at night. It's been in the grave and on the crest of a wave. It's kind of like the Forrest Gump movie, when he's running along the water, 'I don't know where the ocean ended and heaven began'. It's been amazing."

Across the planet, nations thrilled to their dazzling, flood-lit, ecstasy-rock live spectacular, arms-in-the-air, throats-on-fire, bawling in unified abandon to their now-classic brace of irresistible singles, terrace-anthem epics uniquely framing the most affecting social commentary of the contemporary age, a poetic critique of daily life on the streets of their native Glasgow, from Daddy's Gone (the hurt of absent fathers), to Geraldine (love may not save you, but your social worker might) to Flowers & Football Tops (a mother grieves for her murdered son).

Returning to Glasgow in December 2009, after two years on-the-road in the rock 'n' roll cocoon, James Allan's lyrics turned inwards, his steady gaze torn away from the world outside his window to the landscape within, the emotional landscape of the staggering reality of what it means to be a human being. After their bewitching six-track Christmas EP of 2008, A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss) (merry Christmas themes: relationship breakdown/ loneliness/homelessness), their second album proper, EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\, sees a leap beyond their trademark Phil Spector wall-of-sound into glittering new towers of electronic rock 'n' roll, even bigger, bolder, brighter and infinitely more personal, luminously sprinkled in the shimmering stardust of production titan Flood (U2, The Killers, Depeche Mode). 11 stadium-ready thrillers reflecting on love, loss, suicide, longing, sexuality, shame, hope, redemption and choosing the path of happiness. A story of darkness into light. "The new songs are aspirational," decides James. "Personally, for me, it was like an adult's wish-list for Santa. Longing for a state of mind. For relief, release and happiness. Like everybody. Songs about a love gained, a love lost, a love longed for, a love unwanted. I'm not sure I ever was a social commentator. More a social day dreamer!"

Santa Monica, California, January-May 2010.
Three years on from the independently-released Daddy's Gone single (Sane Man Recordings, 2007) and the working-class four-piece (cousin Rab Allan - guitar, Paul Donoghue - bass and Caroline McKay - drums) forged on the beleaguered streets of Dalmarnock, Glasgow by former professional footballer James Allan (a band immediately dubbed, by Oasis label-boss Alan McGee, as "the most important Scottish band of all time") and Glasvegas, exhausted from the road, decamped to the sunshine state, setting up a studio in a large, white, three-story multi-million-dollar beach-side house (having signed to the Columbia/Sony giant in 2008). "When we'd toured, I'd always felt at home in Los Angeles," says James. "Probably because, as a kid, I watched a lot of movies set in California, 'The Karate Kid', 'Teen Wolf', when Michael J Fox is standing on top of the Wolfmobile singing 'Surfin' USA'. It just seemed like another planet to me, from where I grew up. I'd never been out of Glasgow until we signed a record deal. So having a house on a beach and getting up to mischief, I guess it was a rock 'n' roll fantasy. And also, I knew I just wanted to look at the water for a while."

2009 had been an exhilarating, chaotic year, a year that had seen James disappear for five days and miss the Mercury Prize Glasvegas were nominated for ("award shows are a bit boring and I just went to New York instead, I didn't think about it that much, I'm quite bad like that"), pull out of their Coachella festival show having succumbed to exhaustion and cancel the final date of their third tour with Kings of Leon when his voice literally disappeared. "I was totally ill but it was probably always gonna happen, that kind of thing," he decides. "It can be quite unhealthy, the levels you push yourself to. I don't know if it's desire or whatever."

Santa Monica was the tonic, James writing, tracking and demoing the 11 songs for EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\ in the mezzanine floor of the beach house, musically, lyrically and emotionally inspired by enigmatically differing sources, from 1982's neo-noir sci-fi classic Blade Runner and its Vangelis soundtrack to the Righteous Brothers' 'Ebb Tide' and the The Chordettes' 'Mr Sandman' to the eternal ocean itself. "And the sun setting," adds James. "It was the most luminous, neon part of the day, this mad, beautiful, fluorescent light. I used to say to Rab, 'look at that, mate, it's a beautiful sunset'. And then I would normally say, 'and there'll be another one tomorrow'. And then Rab said, 'aye, but it won't be that sunset'. And that's the only romantic thing Rab's ever said in his life." James wrote the music, firstly, in his head, walking along the beach, ideas literally shooting in from outer-space, like the one for the elevational epic 'Euphoria, Take My Hand' after a firework exploded overhead and dropped into the sea. "It was like watching the sun bursting in the water," he smiles. "So bright, sparkling and the water was kind of dancing with the music. Everybody was saying, 'there's no way we'd be writing songs like this if we were anywhere else'. Just like we couldn't have made the Christmas record anywhere else apart from Transylvania. It was meant to be."

The result: a stunning, spectral, indeed euphoric/heartbreaking soundscape of arcing ambition, as if David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' soundtrack was speeded up and re-imagined through the sonic dreams of Echo & the Bunnymen, Joy Division, a formidably gothic Pet Shop Boys and Brian Eno's 2008 triumphs with Coldplay. During the five month writing process, the four members took stock of the previous two years ("we had time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves a few questions") and Caroline McKay concluded her time with Glasvegas was done, perhaps a victim of the band's success. "I saw her struggling," notes James of his friend, who'd had no previous drumming experience. "She never asked for this. She never asked for the U2 gigs, to tour the world, for the record to do what it's done. But better she left then than spending years being unhappy. There's no fucking point, man. She's happier now, totally." There was also time in the house, however, for the high jinks of rock 'n' roll, of visits from friends in Los Angeles, of up to eight people perched in the house Jacuzzi even if James did, single-handedly, leave the water in the Jacuzzi running and flood the entire house. "Twice." There were parties in Los Angeles, attendance at their friend Lisa-Marie Presley's birthday party and new friendships flourish, a chance encounter at a cinema one night seeing James befriend Hollywood veteran Daryl Hannah, "an amazing person who makes me want to be a better person", while a visit to her home saw James encounter her pet pig, woodpecker and chickens, one of whom is called 'Iggy Pop'. Their meeting was a "weird coincidence", Daryl Hannah having starred in Blade Runner almost 30 years before, the film a central touch-stone to the spirit of EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\. "'Blade Runner' had that wide-eyed, naïve idea of what the future was gonna be like," muses James, "the post-apocalyptic thing. And I guess we were quite wide-eyed and naïve in a lot of ways as well. Where we were at, physically and mentally, things seemed to connect with a lot of that imagery. And at the centre of the movie is this beautiful, dreamy music, like "tears in rain."

In 2011, Glasvegas are touring the planet, once again. They've played, already, the outer-reaches of Scotland to hand-on-heart believers in Kirkwall, Wick, Forres, Oban, Dunoon, Troon, Hawick and Dunfermline. Their March 2011 shows sold out in hours (and) in seven minutes in their beloved Sweden. Fittingly, they now have a Swedish drummer, Jonna Lofgren, a rock musician from Boden with four years' drumming experience who James describes as "a dark horse, she takes us by surprise".

EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\, meanwhile, includes an extensive, exquisitely-produced lyric booklet and art-work featuring both bewitching Santa Monica beach-side imagery and echoes of their on-going connection to the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh, James once noting, beautifully, "our music sounds like 'The Starry Night' looks" (hence the emotive night-sky swirls of previous art-work). The cover features an iconic image of Marilyn Monroe taken by George Barris when she was filming her last film 'Something's Got To Give' – the shot was taken on the beach only yards from where they wrote the album. This time, James cites 'Wheatfield With Crows' as inspiration, with its troubled skies and differing pathways, a painting about choices, another central theme of this stunning, redemptive, highly personal album. "Sometimes I'm not sure the personal stuff is what I want to write," says James. "But I can't help it. It just seems to happen. Sometimes, you think 'fuck, my guard's down, quite a lot here'. But when you're in bed on a Tuesday night and you think, 'is there a purpose to me being in this band?', you realise, aye there is. Because you aren't just singing about nothing. And there's authenticity and sincerity."

The album, he adds, is "two years older and stronger than the first, like the elder brother", a glorious achievement in emotional maturity which befits our culturally chaotic era. This is no time, after all, for meaningless music.
"I think so," concludes James. "But then again, I only wrote these songs to express myself. So if anybody listens or spends time with my music, invests time in these stories and sentiments, then I'm the luckiest guy in the world. Everything else is just playing our rock 'n' roll shows. Around the world."
Gliss - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Danish/American band Gliss makes a huge departure from their old sound on the
new record Langsom Dans which is gathering comparisons to Beach House, Crystal
Castles and Lower Dens. The LA based band, consisting of Victoria Cecilia and Martin
Klingman pour their collective musical imaginations into recording
timeless art pop with a precise Scandinavian texture that steps away from their
previous work. The 12-track LP features heavy synths and electronic beats with Danish
expatriate, Victoria Cecilia, stepping into the role as lead singer. The passionate vocal
harmonies dictate the recordings with stories of coming out of the darkness into a new
life, bringing to mind The XX, Portishead and Depeche Mode.

This is a full-length from a band that knows their sound, and having toured with the likes
of Glasvegas, The Horrors, Raveonettes and Editors, they clearly have the credentials.

The album is released through Modern Outsider and is already climbing into the Top
5 on the alternative specialty radio charts.
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change