A Monday night in Perthshire isn't necessarily the most rock n' roll prospect but I had an inkling that The View gig at Birnam Arts Centre might turn out to be a bit special. I had seen the support act Brainglue, a 4 piece indie punk/reverb band hailing from Perth, supporting Majik Carpet at The Green Room and honestly thought they were one of the best live acts I've ever seen. So if there was ever any doubt about taking a road trip to Birnam on a school night, then they were dispelled when Brainglue were announced as the opening act. So my girlfriend and I hit the road with The Views 2010 album "Bread and Circuses" blaring on the car stereo.
Top "The View" tune "Happy" was just finishing as we pulled up outside Birnam Arts, a not for profit organisation owned by the community, and parked up. It was still a half hour before the show started but you could already tell that there was a buzz starting to build. We hung up our coats and dropped into the cafe/bar where I was pleasantly surprised to find cans of a delicious craft IPA by Scottish brewery Krafty Brew bearing the name of The Views debut album "Hats Off To The Buskers". A share of the profits from this tipple goes to the charity Musicians Against Homelessness. I love music and I love India Pale Ale, so when the two combine it's like pleasure squared and if it also helps a good cause then that's a real win, win, win.
Brainglue took the stage promptly and didn't pull any punches launching straight into "Filth" one of their originals that had so impressed me the last time I'd seen them. I love this band's raw energy and the chemistry between guitarist Sparky and lead singer Ewan, often sharing the same mic when Sparky sings backing vocals. Although they are raw and exciting they are far from shambolic and were tighter than ever perhaps sensing what a great opportunity they have been presented with. Another highlight was the third song, "Regression" with its reverb-drenched atmospheric introduction, driving floor toms and catchy outro riff and massive sounding final chord. The real standout though was the penultimate song "Please Don't" a song with an aggression and killer melody that even an at the height of their powers Libertines would have been jealous of. By the time Brainglues short set was over I was even more impressed with this amazing up and coming band and made a mental note to try my hardest to catch them headlining one of their own shows.
After Brainglue departed and before The View came on, you could see the crew taking great care to make sure the band sounded at their very best, making little tweaks to the e.q. of the mix. It definitely was worth the extra effort because when the band started up they sounded epic. The guitar sound on "Comin' Down" (also the opening track of their debut) is huge and lead singer Kyles voice is even better than when this track was recorded ten years ago.
The third song in was The Views breakout hit from their debut album "Same Jeans". I remember thinking that when this song came out that wearing the same jeans for four days wasn't such a big deal, particularly living in a post Febreze era. In retrospect, I am disgusted by my lax hygiene and these days I rarely wear the same trousers for more than two days, two and a half days at a push. The performance by the lads prompted spirited chants of "The View, The View, The View are on fire" from a large group of die-hard fans near the front of the stage.
I was initially quite surprised that the band chose to play arguably their best-known song so early on in their set. It wasn't until this was followed in quick succession by "Don't Tell Me", "Skag Trendy" and "The Don", that I slowly began to realise that they were playing their debut album from beginning to end. It was also at this point that we learned the sad news from the band that the great Tom Petty, who has subsequently died, had been hospitalised.
One of the high points of the show for me was when Kyle swapped his electric guitar for an acoustic and began playing crowd-pleasing ballad "Face for Radio". It had everyone at the Birnam Arts Centre singing along in unison. This gave way to my girlfriend Jo's favourite song of the evening "Wasted Little DJ's" with its great opening couplet "They told me if I write this song for them. That they would cut my hair for free." Soon they are playing the last song from their debut album the charmingly Dylanesque "Typical Time" before it is time before a selection of great tracks from the rest of their career.
First up is one of the stand out tracks from "Bread and Circuses" album "Grace" with its massive chorus prompts more "The View are on fire" chants from the energised audience. The second half also features a heartfelt performance of my very favourite The View songs, Happy. A lovely little rocking love song with some great rhythm guitar from Kyle and some great Neil Youngesque lead work from Pete Reilly. By this point, the band are really firing on all cylinders with rhythm section drummer Steven Morrison and bassist Kieren Webster providing a solid groove for the guitar histrionics. The audience are enjoying it so much that a couple of bra's have been thrown by particularly appreciative concert go-ers and lie at Kyle and Pete's feet as they play!
Soon the night is drawing to an end but we are treated to one last song as Kyle comes back for an encore that shows off his keyboard chops, the delicate "Shock Horror" from 2009's "Which Bitch?" album. By the end of the night, both the band and the audience had given their all and we filed out into the cool Birnam night. No chippies open at 11 pm on a Monday night in Birnam though. Probably for the best.
More information about Birnam Arts Centre here
Check out Brainglue's upcoming dates here
Read more about The View's new album "Ropewalk" here
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