First thing’s first: it was an inspired choice to create a bill that included upcoming Glasgow band Tijuana Bibles as well as John McCullagh and The Escorts (who are supporting CAST throughout their current tour). Needless to say this was a night I had been looking forward to for some time and it did not disappoint.
Arriving at the venue early, I was surprised to hear a band on stage, but relieved to learn that it was not the Tijuana Bibles – a band that has been high on my list of ‘must see’ artists for some time after missing them at their Dunfermline show a few months back. By the time they did take to the stage and blasted into opener ‘Crucifixion’, a healthy crowd had gathered – with a number of onlookers singing along; it was clear the burgeoning group had a growing number of fans in attendance.
Having featured Tijuana Bibles in Gigslutz Unsigned City: Glasgow a couple of months back, I was keen to hear how the band and their tracks would sound live. Singer Tony led the charge and I loved the gritty, edgy, rocky sound that defined their performance, so it wasn’t surprising to hear that they had been lined up to support The View in Dundee the following night. ‘Sun Chaser’ and closer ‘Wild River’ were standouts, and I look forward to catching the again in the near future.
Another mega bonus in the line-up was hearing that John McCullagh and his band, The Escorts, were going to be supporting CAST. With McCullagh being signed to Alan McGee’s 359 records (the same record label as my most played artist of 2014, Gigslutz nominated Male Artist Of The Year, Pete MacLeod) he was someone I had both read about and listened to over the past year and was excited to be hearing live for the first time. Signed at just 15, the young singer is building quite a reputation for himself having supported acts such The Enemy and Alabama 3. Now seventeen, McCullagh will follow-up his debut album North South Divide with the release of Newborn Cry in early 2015. Opening with ‘She’s Calling Me’ and following up with ‘Short Sharp Shock’ from his debut album, the backing of The Escorts added a depth to the set and produced one of the stand-out moments of the show – and, judging by the applause when the artist left the stage, I was not the only one keen to hear more. With the release of Newborn Cry and an accompanying tour early next year I am sure the number of fans John McCullagh has will only increase from here.
And so onto the main event: CAST! What can I say? Wow! On this bitter winter night the temperature in the venue was soaring by the time the band opened their set with ‘Time Bomb’ and followed quickly into ‘Promised Land’. Having caught front-man John Power (accompanied by Jay Lewis) on their acoustic tour last year, the songs took on another dimension with the addition of Skin on guitar. ‘Sandstorm’ and ‘Fine Time’ ensured the set continued at break-neck speed with the crowd well and truly up for it and singing along word for word. Hearing ‘Fine Time’ live re-jogged my memory back to the time when I bought All Change: despite being 4 hours’ worth of mid-90s’ wages, it was definitely money well-spent.
‘Beat Mama’, ‘I’m So Lonely’ and ‘Magic Hour’ were big stand-outs for me and I loved the dynamic between Power and Skin on stage. ‘Live The Dream’, perhaps my favourite CAST track, once again blew my mind, whilst follower ‘Walkaway’ was the choice track of the night for my fellow watcher, Andy. ‘Guiding Star’ took everything up a notch with John Power appearing to love every moment with the Glasgow crowd responding loudly to each track. ‘Free Me’ closed the night, and once again I was left wanting more. With a new album due next year and new(ish) track, ‘Baby Blue Eyes’, currently streaming I am hoping CAST will return to Scotland again – and soon if possible!