All cities have one street, or road, that is arterial in nature.
It’s the one that pumps the majority of inhabitants and visitors from A to B, or C, or wherever they need to be.
It is to all intents and purposes the cities beating heart.
people often cite Sauchiehall Street
as such, but for those who live in the city, or frequent it often, we all know
that it is really Argyle Street.
It’s where you canny shove yer granny from a bus, and if you have a talent for it you could maybe launch a jeely piece from the nineteenth floor of a tower block, and just manage to have it land there; although that is doubtful, but never the less it is the very real heart of Glasgow.
Cutting through the centre of the city it is Argyle Street that never sleeps, it never misses a beat, rarely slows down, and it is rare to see anyone standing stationary for more than five minutes, unless of course it is the living statue artists that have sprung up over the last few years.
And yet there are always exceptions to the rule, and Friday the fifteenth of September was one as around 5pm you would have witnessed a small crowd of GUN fans throwing the gauntlet down in competition with the living statues as we congregated outside the HMV store.
The reason for being there was of course to participate in watching the band perform the first of a run of acoustic instore dates arranged to celebrate and promote the release of their latest album ‘Favourite Pleasures’.
This appearance was hot on the heels of their gig in St Lukes from the previous night - a show that lit the fuse on fans rushing to social media to share how good the boys were - and an instore that was an opportunity for people like me that couldn’t attend to grab a second chance with both hands.
Waiting was in fact no great hardship, the weather was fine, (yeah really) the company congenial, and the time sprinted past as we spent it chatting with other fans about gigs attended, and those that we are planning to attend.
It wasn’t too long before we found ourselves picking up the gauntlet that we had foolishly cast down to the living statues (hey, they are professionals after all), and instead threw in the towel as the staff gave the signal that we could enter the store. Filtering past other shoppers we slipped downstairs and filled the spaces between the racks and looked to get the best vantage point of the stage that was set up adjacent to where the cashiers would be.
Managing to get front and centre, the benefits of turning up early, it wasn’t long before the band arrived and took their positions, all of them looking far fresher than any bunch of rockers have any right to when it is the early evening after the night before, and then with a little bit of banter between themselves they kicked off with Tragic Heroes, and with that they reasserted that they aren’t going anywhere. Arguably they never were anyway.
It was as we here in Scotland are apt to say 'straight out of the gates and no messing'. This was GUN in all their glory.
I've said it before, but it is worth repeating that while so many bands are seemingly happy to revisit past glories, and little else, it is GUN who are bucking the nostalgia trend and confidently proclaiming that there’s plenty of fuel left in their tank.
Pre release of the album the tracks shared with the public ably illustrated that they are looking forward rather than back and Tragic Heroes is an appropriate calling card to start the set off to remind everyone of this.
Silent Lovers followed, and acoustically it sounded like the Clash with the heavy beat of the bass dominating, but as everyone else started contributing the song burst free from the chains of the past and took flight. Two songs in and the confidence in the Favourite Pleasures material was very obvious. When they sat down to decide what to add to the set list they had plenty of fan favourites to pick from, and yet here they were measuring the new songs up and considering them either as worthy to play, or maybe more so, than much of their back catalogue.
Next they kept it all going with the slower paced Boy Who Fooled The World, which since the release of Favourite Pleasures is being called not just one of the best tracks on the album, but one of the best that the band have ever written, and from this display of it who am I to argue with that.
Leaving the new album aside the band then slipped a hand into their back catalogue to give us Crazy You, and while it was warmly received you couldn’t argue that it was embraced with any more gratitude that any of the songs that preceded it which is a good sign in itself.
Better Days was then ushered in to finish of the set, and if anyone was churlishly going to ask for something that could be called a classic GUN track then they would have had to eaten their words with its inclusion.
Three new tracks and two older ones on show and its doubtful that anyone could claim that they had been let down.
And then with the set reaching its conclusion the band left the stage and within minutes were back to sign albums and such.
In an era when VIP tickets to meet a band are fast becoming the norm it is refreshing to see one that is not only happy to meet fans, but also to chat to them and in doing so refuse to let the barrier between fan and artist to be built ever higher.
Very often it is the little things that matter, and I think they get that.
And I guess now all that is matters for Scottish fans is the Barrowlands gig that is sitting on the horizon, and of course lets not forget that the only natural way to finish a review of any GUN album, gig, or even instore, is to shout out loud and proud ‘Mon the GUN, as they deserve it.
So ‘Mon the GUN indeed.