I went to see the tsunami relief gig at the SECC last night, officially with Kate and accidentally with Dom and Alice. We turned up too late to see Deacon Blue, but we did see, in roughly chronological order:

  • Colin MacIntyre (of Mull Historical Society): all I have to say is it’s haircut time for this chap.
  • Slam: techno? At a gig otherwise performed by pale guitar-wielding indie muso types?
  • Kevin MacDermott: your guess is as good as mine.
  • Mogwai: I’ve seen these guys twice before, both times in apocalyptic insane-o-sound, but unfortunately this time the levels were a bit off. Still, they’re utterly unlike any other mainstream group (and no, Godspeed You Black Emperor are not mainstream!) and still worth watching; when was the last time you had your earwax loosened by a bunch of proto-neds playing avant-garde instumental prog rock? Exactly.
  • Belle & Sebastian seemed to suffer from the same problem with levels as Mogwai, but they did make a point of playing a set of their most crowd-pleasing songs, which I thought was pretty good of them.
  • Eugene Kelly: yeah, I thought “Who?” as well until he mentioned “I used to be in a band called The Vaselines,” and suddenly we all understood, and sang along with Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam”.
  • Teenage Fanclub were introduced by Simon Pegg, no less, as being his favourite band. At last; my obsession is justified by a cult celebrity. Oh ye of little faith… Now, being unequivocally the best band in the world, I was justifiably looking forward to the Fanclub’s set. The problem was that they played a couple of relatively obscure tracks while suffering from the same level problems that plagued the other full bands, and then did a new track that no-one seemed to know. A shame, because they were in illustrious and deferential company who were falling over themselves to pay tribute, but never mind. The show went on.
  • Trashcan Sinatras: er. No idea. They were good, in an indie-meets-acoustic-folk way.
  • Travis: I had no idea, when Tiny Monkey covered All I Want To Do Is Rock, that so many people knew it. Turns out they do, and my God, Travis know how to use a crowd pleaser. They’ve got to be one of the most enthusiastic live bands I’ve seen, and even though Fran Healy can come across as a bit over-earnest, who cares when they can rock so well? At one point I was amazed by all of the lighters I saw in the crowd, only to realise that they were all the pale, glowing screens of mobile phones as everyone took pictures of the band. Odd!
  • Idlewild: Idlewild on after Travis? Apparently so. They must have an album out or something. They played a rather good acoustic set – the ever-so-slightly folky nature of The Remote Part translated well to the sans-drum line-up. One of the highlights of the gig, along with Travis and…
  • Franz Ferdinand caned through their set (Matinée, Jacqueline, with Nirvana’s In Bloom sneakily spliced into the middle, and Take Me Out) like they couldn’t wait to do some new stuff. It felt bizarrely like being in the current T In The Park/T On The Fringe/Triptych advert, and the crowd were going similarly mad.
  • Eddi Reader, unfortunately placed after FF’s roof-raising set, had to deal with ‘special’ guest Karen Dunbar and didn’t really get the chance to do as well as she might have done. She might be hailed as a worthy champion of traditional Scots’ music, but she felt a bit lost in amongst the indie scrum.
  • Texas: gah. When, after A) The Man Who, B) 100 Broken Windows or C) Franz Ferdinand, were Texas ever big enough to justify topping the bill at this gig? Fair enough, they were all excellent musicians, and Sharleen Spiteri can sing spectacularly well, but they felt a little tired and didn’t have the rose-tinted spectacles effect that even Teenage Fanclub can rely upon for part of their appeal. Does anyone really look back fondly on a Texas album and say “They don’t make them like that any more,”? Meh. Perhaps I’m being uncharitable. Fortunately…
  • Gary Lightbody (of Snow Patrol) popped up on his indie lonesome at the end of the gig. Introduced once more by Simon Pegg, he played a single acoustic version of Run. You’ve got to hand it to the guy – five years of nothing at all, and then one album later and you’re famous enough to close the biggest Scottish gig of recent years. And the crowd absolutely loved it.

The only slight down side was that having bought the uber-expensive seated tickets because there were no standing ones left, we couldn’t get down into the standing area. The bouncers might have been working for free, but depressingly they hadn’t left any of their joyless efficiency at home…

Ach well. It was still excellent. When you see maybe half of your favourite bands play on one night, it can’t really fail to be.