My first gig of 2020 may already be the gig of the year! I arrived in the West End around 4.30pm and had a bite to eat at Mario’s Cafe on the Byers Road. After the meal I took a meander down to the Kelvingrove thinking it might be open for the concert goers to go into and have a drink in the cafe or in a bar. I was there at 6pm but the doors didn’t open until 7pm.
At about 6.30 a couple showed up and we got chatting. We discussed gigs, my move from Sydney, to Luton, then on to Glasgow. It wiled away the time until doors opened. A friendly couple they were. Weegies are always up for a bit of a chinwag and some patter.
Once the doors opened to the museum hall space and to the seating, I got myself a seat about four rows back and fairly centre of stage. It was a good vantage point, with a clear view to the drum kit (always important for us would-be drummers).
The support act, Tenement and Temple, were on shortly after everyone was seated. The singer’s voice is very sweet and beautiful. They have quite a traditional folk/country sound to their music. Not usually the genre of music I would seek out, but I enjoyed their set. The natural reverb and echo the hall has really complimented the singer’s voice. It was lovely and soothing. I felt myself calmed by the music. Their set lasted about 35 minutes.
A quick set up by Field Music followed. Then just on 9pm, David Brewis walked onto the stage. He says “just to make you all aware. We are going to do something very scary this evening. We are going to play the new album in its entirety first – without a pause…and then we’ll play some of the back catalogue – the songs you’ll know. So bear with us, please. We’re really nervous.”
What followed was one of the most wonderful audio/visual experiences I have ever had at a live event. It was wonderful!
The album is a concept, based upon an audio recording done that captured the final minute of WWI and the first minute after the war ended. The band then put their own interpretation on aurally documenting the last 100 years since the end of WWI. They were asked to be involved with this concept by the Imperial War Museum. What they’ve done in producing this album is amazing. The way in which they have documented the past 100 years of human history, post WWI is concise and thought provoking. I sat there in a kind of audio/visual awe. Taking in the music and the visuals with a gleeful relish. Absolutely wonderfully staged. I cannot commend the band enough for the way they executed it.
Once the whole album had been performed, there was rest for the most deserved and stirring round of applause I’d heard any band ever receive. And you know the reputation of Glasgow crowds. Well, last night, they absolutely gave due respect for the audio/visual splendour that was just experienced. The applause went on for several minutes. Both Peter and David Brewis were almost embarrassed by how long it went on for, but so wonderfully humbled by it. It was so richly deserved.
They both sighed. They swapped places (both the brothers took turns at drumming duties last night – David during the performance of Making A New World and then Peter through most of the back catalogue). Peter drew in a deep breath and smiled and said “Okay…you can take a few moments now. You can get up, grab a drink, go to the loo, stretch your legs.” A guy in the front row immediately got up and darted off. Peter watches him walk off… “Oh, okay. Erm, yeah, off you go…. He’s not coming back, is he?” Lol. “So, yes, anyway. Just take a few minutes, we’ll have a quick breather and perform the good stuff now. The songs you’ll know. So you can sing along, have a dance, do whatever you like.”
They played Count it Up which I was so happy about! I think they performed maybe 8 songs from the back catalogue. I wasn’t keeping count. And I admit my ignorance and declare I am not overly familiar with their back catalogue, but I will endeavour to change that after last night. They certainly gained a firm fan in me.
Afterwards I waited patiently for my time to just…engage with them both and thank them and congratulate them on such a wonderful gig. I spoke to Peter briefly first. Telling him that I got to know of them (Field Music) through Warm Digits and that I had seen him perform with them in 2018 on the Wireless World tour, as he’d done a guest vocal on their (Warm Digits) song End Times.
David was manning the merch stall and was taking card payments, but the WiFi inside the Kelvingrove was proving a bit temperamental. David split away from the main merch area to try and get a better connection, which he found standing in a different part of the foyer and set up a makeshift second merch stand to take the card payments. I bought the new album and asked if they would both sign it. I said to David “I really don’t know why you were so nervous. The show was absolutely amazing!” He went on to explain that he had to play the drum parts to a click track to keep to the tempo, and once the adrenalin starts pumping, you naturally just want to play faster and then the click track sounds really, REALLY slow and so the level of concentration just makes you anxious and it’s just an abundance of nervous energy and you get stressed with wanting to make sure you get it right.
I’m so glad I stayed behind and got to chat with them. They are such lovely men. So talented, yet so down-to-earth and lovely.
I knew this gig was going to be something very special and it was exactly that. It actually went BEYOND my expectations. I don’t feel in anyway being premature in saying this could already be gig of the year. They really have set the bar high for whoever else I am seeing this year – Simple Minds included!
The Brewis brothers deserve every accolade that comes their way with this album. It’s wonderful. See them if you can! You won’t be disappointed. More dates are to come later in February.