Alright, you’ve heard of Glasgow venues before: there’s the Barrowlands, the SECC, the Carling Academy, the Garage, and the ABC. But if your music taste is a little to the left of Elton John and Gwen Stefani, then this guide will help you to get acquainted with some of the venues you’ll be falling out of for the next 4 years.
Barfly Area: St. Enoch Centre Capacity:200
Part of the chain of Barfly venues, the Glasgow incarnation is home to 2 different stages, one upstairs and one downstairs. The upstairs is mainly used for putting on local band showcases, usually by shady promoters who want to cut corners. Despite downstairs having a somewhat better PA, it still suffers from poor design: there are several points within the audience space where the sound is incomprehensible. It does manage to pull in some reasonably well known bands from every genre, and has a strangely intimate feel. But the bar stock is limited and disappointing, even on clubnights which sound like they’d be a quality night but in reality are full of people off their faces. And not in a good way.
King Tut’s Area: City Centre Capacity:300
Tut’s Wah Wah Hut is the quintessential big ‘small venue’ in Glasgow. Famed for being the place where Oasis were ‘discovered’, it’s also seen most, if not all, of the big alternative acts treading across its gaff-taped stage at some point in the last 10 years, from Snow Patrol to Capdown to, well, you get the picture. Bands play nearly every single night and you can usually turn up at a night you like the look of and get tickets behind the bar. It’s not half bad for sound, and it doesn’t have grime and sweat stuck to the walls thanks to the recent refurbishment. Just don’t drink there unless you want to see the band that’s on, or you’ll find yourself surrounded by either young kids going to see ‘the next big thing’ or pretentious folk ranting about having seen ‘the next big thing’ 2 years previously.
13th Note Area: Merchant City Capacity 80-100
The 13th Note will bring a tear to any vegan-alternative-rock-loving-geek’s eye. By day, they make veggie food, and at night, the venue downstairs lets bands wreak havoc in their tiny sweatbox/downstairs bar. Bands you’ll never have heard of, or probably hear of again, play here every night of the week. It never reaches capacity but you’ll still sweat like it has, and you’ll always have one ridiculous pretentious band to suffer through. The gigs here are good, and it’s as close as you’ll get to your local band idols, without being in their pants. Probably.
ABC2 Area: City Centre Capacity:350
A newcomer to the Glasgow ‘small venue scene’, ABC2 has actually turned out to be one the best of the bunch. Nestled beneath the ABC1 venue, which is simply too cavernous for a lot of bands, the ABC2 has good sound, and attracts bands of a good quality to a place where they wouldn’t normally. The drinks prices are exorbitantly high, and the strange architecture within the ABC complex may lead to a bouncer directing you back downstairs. Probably cause you’ve gotten pished at the union beforehand though.
Nice ‘n’ Sleazy Area: City Centre Capacity:250
Sleazy’s, as anyone from Glasgow calls it is home to the great and good of the Glasgow music scene when they’re not either doing drugs, recording, or – god forbid – playing a show, and it’s not unusual to see yourself down the bar from a member of Mogwai or Belle and Sebastian. Their venue downstairs may not be designed for sound, but as a venue, it’s got enough space to have tables and a decent crowd. More at home with local bands, Sleazy’s is the best place to catch your favourite Glasgow scene bands tearing it up. The drinks prices are reasonable, and remember, if anyone asks ‘it was better before the renovation.’