Sunday, December 11, 2016

On the road with The Biff - Glasgow - 29 November 2016

The Biff at the Hydro

After one short day off the road that I barely remember, because ... TIRED it was time for the Glasgow gig. Obviously I cannot post any recent hotel recommendations from my own experience because Glasgow means I can go home after the gig and sleep in my own very comfortable bed. That was such a weird feeling though. I am not exactly sure why it is not weird for any other band I have seen since I am a resident of this amazing city but for Biffy - yet it was. I still felt like I was on a trip double checking where my passport was (in my bag because - ID checks) and kind of always thought of my not existing travel schedule. Strange ...

Anyway ... although I personally do not need a hotel anymore, I will list some places for gig travelers who come to Glasgow. If you are attending a show at the Hydro there is a Hilton Garden Inn right by the venue and a Premier Inn just across the river. If you are on a budget the Euro Hostel and the Easy Hotel in the city center might work for you and if you fancy a bit of luxury I can recommend Hotel Indigo. Glasgow is not that big of a city and usually as long as your accommodation is in or close to the city center you are fine. I personally also booked Airbnb places in the West End quite frequently in the past and they were all nice, too.
If you are looking for a good place for dinner before around a Hydro show - or to interrupt the waiting time in the queue to warm up with some nice food - Glasgow's hipster mile Argyle Street in Finnieston is only a short walk away and has plenty of dining options for every taste and budget. 

If you are planning to visit Glasgow I recommend to plan in a bit of extra time if you can because it is awesome here. I might be a biased though. A bit.  

Si gazing out
Alright ... it took me a few days to get my thoughts together about this gig. 
I kind of wanted this to be the highlight of the tour so badly. The band's hometown show. My hometown show. But ... as much as I want it to be the best one - it was not. The band is not to blame. They were on fire and loved playing for their home crowd and of course also for their friends and families in the house. 

Jimbo up on the platform
It would also not be really fair to blame the crowd - they were up for it and the singalongs were really loud, but I think part of the problem is that the Barrowlands ruined me and my expectations. Bellahouston was a bit different because it had a festival feeling to it and was majestic by the size alone and the great atmosphere all around. The Hydro on the other hand was the first proper Glasgow indoor show since that exceptional weekend and somehow I had that type of crowd in my mind - well knowing that no 15,000 people arena audience would be able to live up to it, but rational thinking is one thing and the heart is another thing. And my heart wanted people to sing along the guitar lines, freaking out to "Wave Upon Wave" instead of making puzzled faces from about 5 rows into the crowd and you know ... it being special. The Hydro audience was great but it was just the average arena crowd in the end. I know this sounds almost arrogant and it's not that it was not a good show - it totally was. It was just not as outrageously awesome when it comes to the atmosphere as I had hoped for. I think. I don't know really. It is probably just me. What I definitely enjoyed though was having so many people I love in one place. THAT was really special to me although some were missing because it was week day and quite a lot of people could sadly not make the trip. 

Great Vennart action
Before we come to the highlight of the show let's have a quick word about the Hydro itself because I think the venue plays quite a big role in everything mentioned above. It was my 2nd show at this venue and ... I really do not like it. I think it is an amazing place when you want to see a pop act with many big screens and catwalks build into the crowd and dancers and all that stuff, but is a quite bad place for rock concerts. There are too many seats and not enough standing room and the seats are too far away from the stage. If I compare that with Manchester Arena or what I have seen of the O2 in London - there are seats very close to the stage where you feel part of the show almost like down on the floor, but everyone with a seat at the Hydro is seriously far away. Also the venue is oddly shaped and that leaves weird empty standing room left and right of the stage - at least with a set up like Biffy had. It was strange and it did not help the atmosphere.
On a positive note: The much feared paperless ticket thing worked surprisingly well and the team at the entrance appeared to be dealing fairly well with the card readers and the whole process. And while it was not as awesome as in Belfast all security folks I met that night were nice, friendly and helpful. 

The highlight .... is odd because I have to say that it was "Many Of Horror".  It IS a great song but I listened to it countless times live now and I personally do not need it really, but it works. It god damn works and it was in the end the moment when I got some chills from all the voices filling the room like it should be. 

I know it is impossible - at least for a regular show - but I wish next time we could just go back to the Barras and be there with "The Family" like in those memorable December nights in 2014. I know you cannot repeat things and it will never be the same, but there is really nothing like being with your closest people in that special room singing along and really feeling it. I will be back at the Barrowlands twice in the next 7 days and you can bet I will let out more than one big sigh when climbing these stairs ... 

YesDragon - Dick Panto

That is more like I wanted that night to be .. heavy voodoo, you know, burning shit up and all that. There will be another day when all that will happen in Glasgow again, too. I am sure. It IS one of the best places in the world to rock out - just the Hydro is not. 

The "Dick Panto" EP can be purchased here

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