That above is a replica of the ticket for the first gig I ever went to. There were two support acts – Bobby Henry and The Cramps. It’s coming up for nearly 38 years since that unforgettable and historic night in my life and I only wish I had been the type to have kept a journal of who I’ve seen, and where, ever since.

As it is, I’m going to try from memory to list all the Glasgow venues that I’ve ever paid money to see a singer or group perform. It could very well be exhaustive but there’s also the possibility that folk might mention somewhere in their comments and that’ll jog my memory further. Oh and there’s a reason for this particular posting that will become clear in the next 24-36 hours.

1. Apollo

Legendary venue that began as Green’s Playhouse in 1927, where Mrs JC, as a young teenager, saw David Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust tour in 1972. A year later it changed its name to the Apollo under which banner it operated until 16 June 1985 when The Style Council became the last act to play there. I was at that particular gig but it wasn’t thought at the time that it would be the end as there had been previous false alarms about the venue closing its doors and, besides, where else was there in the city for gigs that could attract 3,500 fans?

The location is now a multiplex cinema.

2. Barrowlands

The best live venue in the world – without question.

Originally opened in 1934 but rebuilt in 1960 after a fire. It was a traditional ballroom rather than a gig venue but Simple Minds had shown what could be possible when they utilised it as a location for filming a promo video and then played live gigs at the end of 1983. The venue, with its 2,100 all-standing capacity quickly became very popular and began to draw events away from the Apollo thus leading to its eventual demise.


Christened ‘the big red shed’ on its opening in 1985 – and the final nail in the coffin of the Apollo. The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre was built as a flexible space to host all sorts of events, including concerts, within a variety of different sized halls. The sound, for years, was absolutely appalling, as the main income was derived from the exhibition and conference market and so the building wasn’t built to the best of specifications for music lovers. I’ve been to all the different halls in the main SECC building over the years but I’ll count it as one location for the purposes of this exercise

4. Clyde Auditorium (The ‘Armadillo’)
5. SSE Hydro

Two purpose-built venues in the grounds of the SECC complex which opened in 1997 and 2013 respectively. The former will always hold special memories as it was where I saw Leonard Cohen for the first and only time back in 2008; the latter I’ve only been to once so far, and it was for a bitterly disappointing gig by Belle and Sebastian in 2015. Hated the experience so much that I’m missing out when Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds play there later in the year.

6. Glasgow University Debating Chamber

One of many student venues I’ve caught bands in over the years. The most recent was a fantastic gig by Belle and Sebastian in 2016. The difference in them playing at this intimate sized venue in comparison to the Hydro is beyond words.

7. Strathclyde Students Union – Level 8
8. Glasgow University Queen Margaret Union
9. Glasgow Technical College Students Union

#7 was where I spent almost every weekend between the ages of 19 and 22. Too many great gigs to single out one above others. #8 was where I first saw The Smiths in 1984. #9 I hadn’t been back to in years until Jacques the Kipper and myself went along to freak out to Carter USM in February 1991.

10. Tiffany’s
11. Plaza Ballroom
12. Maestro’s
13. Henry Afrika’s
14. Soundhaus
15. Barfly
16. The Arches
17. Night Moves (later changed name to Rooftops)

All of the above are no longer with us. Tiffany’s was the choice of venue for bands who couldn’t quite fill the Apollo and was where I saw many up and coming post-punk bands between 1981 (when I was old enough to get in under the licensing laws) and 1987 when it was converted into a casino.

The Plaza was where I first saw a number of bands including New Order, Suede and Blur – it was demolished and turned into flats in 1995. Maestro’s and Henry Afrika’s were discos occasionally used for gigs – can only recall being at them on one occasion and that was to see Tears for Fears and The Wake.

Barfly, I was at once to see Young Knives in 2006. I cannot recall who I saw at Soundhaus but it was to watch a band for whom the bass player was a young relative of a good friend of Mrs V’s.

Night Moves was the venue where bands played midweek as the student unions, for the most part, only hosted live gigs at weekends – my most memorable time at NM was The Fall supported by Cocteau Twins in 1982. It’s still in use but only as Victoria’s nightclub.

The Arches was a superb basement venue deep in the bowels below Glasgow Central station. It was more renowned as a club, and it was drugs-related issues within the club that led to its closure in 2015, but I was lucky enough to see a number of great performances there over the years, including British Sea Power, Lambchop, Frightened Rabbit, Aidan Moffat and Billy Bragg.

18. King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
19. Broadcast
20. Nice n Sleazys
21. Hug and Pint
22. Academy
23. ABC
24. ABC 2
25. City Halls (both pre and post multi-million £s renovation in 2006)
26. Stereo
27. Mono
28. The Garage (formerly known as Mayfair)
29. CCA
30. Classic Grand
31. Old Fruitmarket
32. 13th Note
33. Platform
34. Old Hairdresser’s
35. Glasgow School of Art
36. Cathouse
37. SWG3
38. Glad Cafe
39. Woodend Tennis Club
40. Flying Duck
41. Oranmor (upstairs)
42. Oranmor (downstairs)
43. Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
44. Strathclyde Suite at GRCH
45. Renfrew Ferry (which despite its name, is a location in Glasgow)
46. St Luke’s
47. St Andrew’s In The Square

All of the above remain in use and all have been visited regularly. I make the distinction at Oranmor and GRCH as the various halls are completely different in layout and atmosphere, and in the case of GCRH, size.

48. Pavilion Theatre
49. Tron Theatre
50. Cottier’s Theatre
51. Citizens’ Theatre
52. Mitchell Theatre
53. Tramway Theatre
54. Glasgow Film Theatre

Turning now to oddities and venues that I’ve only been to either once or twice.

55. Grand Ole Opry (notionally a C&W club; have seen Lloyd Cole and The Twilight Sad on the two occasions I’ve been along)
56. Langside Hall
57. Queen’s Park Bowling Club
58. Hyndland Bowling Club
59. Titwood Bowling Club
60. Offshore Cafe
61. Berkeley Suite
62. Jeffrey Hall, Mitchell Library

(#56 – #62 have all been one-off gigs by Butcher Boy)

63. Buff Club
64. Brel
(Malcolm Middleton/Rick Redbeard/FOUND as Chem Underground triple bill in 2012)
65. Fairfield Club
(Malcolm Middleton/Phantom Band/Strike The Colours/De Rosa as part of Malky’s Burst Noel in 2008)
66. The State Bar
67. Pollokshields Burgh Hall
(LP launch by Wake The President in 2009)
68. Dennistoun New Parish Church
(Admiral Fallow/Rick Redbeard/Kobi Onyame as part of East End Social Duke St Expo in 2014)
69. Everlasting Arms Church
(King Creosote/Alexis Taylor(Hot Chip)/Siobhan Wilson as part of East End Social Duke St Expo in 2014)
70. Kinning Park Complex
(LP launch by Randolph’s Leap in 2014)
71. Glasgow Academical Sports Club
(scene of a momentous Martin Stephenson solo gig)

Some smaller venues that are no longer in existence.

72. Moir Hall
73. The Roxy (has been re-modelled and re-opened as The Hug and Pint)
74. Captain’s Rest
75. Bowler’s Bar

and finally, three outdoor venues

76. Glasgow Green
77. Richmond Park
78. Kelvingrove Bandstand

Proud to say I haven’t been to gigs at any of the three football stadia nor Bellahouston Park, despite it being on my doorstep.

#79 is on its way. Stay Tuned.

mp3 : The Jam – That’s Entertainment (live at Apollo, Glasgow)
mp3 : Echo and The Bunnymen – Never Stop (live at Barrowlands, Glasgow)
mp3 : The Smiths – You’ve Got Everything Now (live at Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow)
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton – Red Travellin’ Socks (live at Oran Mor, Glasgow)
mp3 : Frightened Rabbit – Keep Yourself Warm (live at Captain’s Rest, Glasgow)

Last of the above features James Graham of The Twilight Sad on backing vocals.


17 thoughts on “78 AND COUNTING

  1. Wow, that’s a pretty comprehensive list. Who said live music is dead?!?! I remember two or three venues from way back in the late 70s/early89s. On Sauchiehall Street there was the Maggie, and the Amphora. Both long gone tho the latter may have morphed into the Mayfair. There was also the Burns Howff in the centre of town. They used to call it a prestigious gig for up and coming bands because Maggie Bell and Alex Harvey had played there. This was just a cover up for the fact they paid the lowest rates on the circuit!!! I know, coz I played most of them, a long long time ago…..

  2. Another great entry and exhaustive. Would add Jim Lambie’s poetry club in in amongst that list as a great venue.

  3. Excellent list, and great first gig.

    I heartily recommend Songkick for tracking your gigs, past and future. In terms of matching dates, because other users have entered the details already as long as you know the headline act, roughly when and roughly where, you can find the right gig. I’ve only got two gaps in my “gigography” (that I can remember, at least).

  4. Impressive list JC
    i’ve probably been to about 30 including The State Bar, Blackfriairs, Govan Town Hall and The Admiral Bar which I don’t see on your list

  5. Great list! But how about a mix “tape@ for us featuring all the bands you’ve seen in that city? (Not necessarily live tracks.) Just a thought. And now, back to the XTC Singles series!

  6. Great list! But how about a mix “tape@ for us featuring all the bands you’ve seen in that city? (Not necessarily live tracks.) Just a thought.

  7. Great post. I can’t believe one city could have so many venues (past & present). The biggest city near me is Manchester, but I’d struggle to compile a list half as long… though my gigging days are mostly behind me, I’m afraid. Made me smile when you mentioned how it used to be only student venues that held midweek gigs: I wish that were still true! So often these days, when an artist I’m desperate to see does play nearby, they do so on a Monday or Wednesday night, and since I a) started teaching and b) had the boy, midweeks gigs are the most impossible of all for me. Has to be a Friday or Saturday night if I’m to have even a chance!

  8. Thanks for the early comments folks.

    Burns Howff/Doune Castle are venues that I recall from my youth but I was really baby-faced and had no chance of getting in until I was 18. Besides, they tended to attract the harder rock sounds than the new-wave/indie fey that I was fond of.

    Songkick could fill in a few gaps but there have been plenty of times when I was among a pitiful small crowd at a gig that I’ve forgotten who the headliner was. Also went to so many gigs at Strathclyde Uni back in 82-85 in such a drunken state that I couldn’t tell you everyone I saw there. All in, given it is now coming up to 38 years since that first gig, I’m sure I’m over 1,000 shows by now when I add in times I’ve been to Edinburgh (at least another 20 venues) and London (maybe ten gigs all told) and there’s even been four locations in Paisley in recent years (Town Hall, Abbey, Arts Centre and Spiegeltent).

    Have drank in Blackfriars (often) and danced in The Admiral (often) but not yet seen bands in those locations. I’ve had tickets for Mayfest shows at Govan Town Hall but can’t recall making it along at any point.

    Aldo has also highlighted, by e-mail, three venues he’s been to without me – Audio, Stairway and The Rum Shack, so there’s still the possibility that one day I will reach 100. As I cryptically say, keep your eyes peeled here for what will likely be #79….

    Rol….I was mentioning that the student unions tended only to do weekend gigs and that places such as Night Moves were used Sundays – Thursdays. And yup, I find it a lot more difficult these days to go to a gig and get up for my work the next morning.

  9. Sorry, I got that bit the wrong way round. Head cold making it very hard to conshentrate today.

  10. Did you never go to a Sounds in the Suburbs gig at the Accies Club? Also saw De Rosa at the Beat Club during the Sauchiehall Crawl. Will see if I can dredge up anything else from the memory!

  11. I saw Paul Quinn and the Independent Group and the BMX Bandits (one gig) at the RAF Club on Woodlands Road.

    Not sure if they put on other gigs.

  12. Of the smaller Glasgow venues, my favourite gigs (travelling down from Aberdeen) have to be Green On Red at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in 1992 – with the added joy of Miracle Legion as support band.
    Then there’s Steve Earle at Barrowlands with the crowd singing “Christmas In Washington” word perfect and so f**king moving .
    And a glorious summer night at the Old Fruit Market with John Prine.

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