Added on Friday 11 Sep 2009
Guessing how well attended a musical event in Glasgow will be is one of those things that a reviewer does as he approaches the venue. The recession has undoubtedly had a serious effect and I can't recall seeing anywhere remotely full on anything other than a Friday or Saturday night in the last year.
Certainly, Neko Case's appearance at the Oran Mor on Monday was better attended than expected. She is, of course, the darling of the middle classes and the audience demographics reflected that. Ms Case proved to be something of an enigma giving a performance that veered from compelling one moment to near indifference the next. However, why such a nice well behaved audience was forced to drink out of cheap plastic glasses like drunken neds at a festival needs to be questioned? Apparently it is something to do with licensing but I've been to just about every music venue in Glasgow carrying my writer's cross and I've seen not a single violent incident. Street brawls are, however, quite another matter.
Anyway back to the whole matter of attendance. Seen recently and destined to play to bigger crowds were the Retrofrets (seen at Pivo Pivo), the Rudiments (seen at the 13th Note) and Shimmer (also seen at Pivo Pivo). None of these bands played to a full house and all deserved to. Note also that these venues served their beer in proper glasses and absolutely no violence resulted. Fine places to enjoy music.
So, if you see a man with a notebook in the shadows staring forlornly at a half drunk pint of Guinness in a floppy plastic glass, you'll know who he is. And yes, he is most probably grumpy. You also know why.