Everyone from Eminem to Ocean Colour Scene thinks it’s the greatest live venue in the country. So what’s so special about the BARROWLAND?

Words: Doug Johnstone

s gigs go. they simply don‘t come any better than seeing a band at (ilasgow Barrowland. Widely agreed to be the best live venue in Britain. the place regularly beats its competitors (even its London equivalents) in polls of gig goers and artists alike. Since the place first re-opened its slightly

dishevelled doors to the hedonistic delights of

the world of rock ‘n‘ roll back in the early 80s (for a one—off Simple Minds gig filmed for their ‘Waterfront‘ video. anoraks). there‘s been no looking back.

In those twenty odd years. the great and the good of the rock and pop worlds have graced the East [find of Glasgow venue‘s wobbly stage. turned in the performances of their careers. and got right royally pissed up afterwards. From lNXS to Iron Maiden. ()rbital to Ozzy Osbourne. New Order to. ahem. Ned‘s Atomic Dustbin. everyone has looked forward to playing that stylish old ballroom and come away with great memories.

REM and U2 both played the 2()()()-capacity venue before they were tedious world- straddling colossi of rock. and Eminem. currently the world‘s biggest selling artist. couldn‘t believe the vibe of the place when he played there less than two years ago. as Dave Corbett of BF Promotions remembers: 'Eminem probably didn‘t know where Scotland

was before he came over. but when he came off

24 THE LIST 15—23? Mar 2001

stage he said. "Man. I don‘t even get receptions like that in my hometown". lie was absolutely amazed at how good the atmosphere was.‘

And liminem‘s attitude is echoed throughout the music world. This month there are a couple of quite exceptional events at the venue. as punk veterans Stiff Little Fingers play their tenth St Patrick‘s Day gig in a row there on the Saturday l7. and chart—bothering modsters ()cean Colour Scene play a five-night residency there starting on Monday 26.

For ()cean Colour Scene‘s singer. Simon Fowler. it was an easy decision to make. ‘We love playing the Barrowland. so why not do live nights there instead of one at the Sii(‘(“.” he says. ‘lt’s just a really good venue. It’s always been a good venue for us. we have plenty of laughs there. We must have played there half a dozen times before and it‘s always been brilliant.‘

lischewing any 7., glitzy gimmicks for the occasion. Fowler promises the gigs will be good old-fashioned party nights. ‘It‘ll be your bog standard rock ‘n‘ roll. mate: a big piss up. We‘ve always had bagpipers and stuff like that at Barrowland before. but I don‘t think we‘ll have any of that this time. cos they drink all the rider.‘

Another fan of the place is Jake Burns. main man with Stiff

‘Man, |_don’t_ even get receptions like that in my hometown.’ Eminem


Little Fingers. ‘lt‘s uniquc.‘ he says. "l‘he Barrowland's always been tny favourite gig to play anywhere. l_iust fell in love with it as soon as I played there. We‘ve been going there on such a regular basis that we're on first name terms with Big Willie at the door.‘

As for any special plans for the night. Burns has also plumped for old school entertainment. ‘We had all sorts of crazy itlcas. lll'sL' fireworks going off and stuff. but then we thought. what makes it special is just its and the audience. so that‘s what it‘s going to be.‘

livei‘ybodys got a favourite Barrowland gig.

whether they be punters or band members. Personally. the time my mates’ band supported Mudhoney

in l‘)‘)2 sums tip the

:1 place for me. No one

w knew who the fuck \’ they were. their n bass amp blew = tip early on. and they were all so

stoned they

could hardly see.

But they still got

a great reception.

Stiff Little Fingers, Barrowland, Glasgow, Sat 17 Mar; Ocean Colour Scene, Mon 26-Fri 30 Mar.

Ocean Colour Scene: ‘lt's brilliant‘