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.
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.
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.
11. Plaza Ballroom
13. Henry Afrika’s
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
20. Nice n Sleazys
21. Hug and Pint
24. ABC 2
25. City Halls (both pre and post multi-million £s renovation in 2006)
28. The Garage (formerly known as Mayfair)
30. Classic Grand
31. Old Fruitmarket
32. 13th Note
34. Old Hairdresser’s
35. Glasgow School of Art
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
(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.