Thursday, 24 July 2014

Belle and Sebastian at Kelvingrove Bandstand

Last night Belle and Sebastian officially opened the newly refurbished Kelvingrove Bandstand in glorious sunshine; playing a career spanning set of songs that were written a mere stones throw from the venue.

Glasgow basked in temperatures approaching 30 degrees through the day, beer gardens were full and the city was buzzing in anticipation of the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games.

I originally didn't get lucky in obtaining a ticket for the show but thankfully my friend Joe ended up with a spare after his wife dropped out. We had a few beers at the Big Slope before walking through the park to the band stand. Glasgow was splendid in all its glory; sunshine, a beautiful park, Kelvingrove Art Museum and one of the city's finest bands playing an open air show.

Vic Galloway introduced the band and they bounded on stage wearing retro tracksuits, tearing into the instrumental Judy Is A Dick Slap. The band were as relaxed as the crowd and it was fantastic to see lots of families in attendance. One kid in front of us must have only been a few months old and Stuart spotted the young family and spoke to the Mum from the stage at one point - a nice touch.

I'm A Cuckoo was perfect sunshine pop, surpassed by Another Sunny Day - a pretty well titled song to have in your cannon for open air shows!

Stuart highlighted that a lot of the songs in the set had been written within a half mile radius of the venue and talking of well titled songs they played the magnificent Stars Of Track And Field.

The band were in fine form, assisted by a string section at times and a soaring trumpet at others.

Stuart sat on the edge of the stage for If She Wants Me, sun streaming through the trees that shelter he venue. Too Much Love pleased the hardcore and Dog On Wheels was a pleasant surprise. The band were getting stronger as the set went on.

Stuart was relaxed and spoke at length, even conducting a Commonwealth Games quiz at one point, causing much laughter when his sister answered one of the questions and won a prize.

The northern soul pop of I Didn't See It Coming lifted the pace and Stuart showed off his dancing skills.

The final trio of songs was a real highlight. Stuart urged some of the crowd to come and dance on stage and at the front of the seats. The highlight was a skinny ginger kid wriggling through security to get on stage and dance his heart out and then steal the setlist!

The Boy With The Arab Strap turned Kelvingrove into an indie disco as everyone got up to dance at their seats or down the front. It was a marvellous sight to behold. Pure summer, pure pop, pure Glasgow.

Stuart slowed things down at the end and sang accompanied only by finger clicks from the entire venue. It was a special moment, I'm sure it will be cherished by Stuart as much as the fans.

Joe and I were down the front at this point and jumped and danced like mad to Legal Man, one of my faves from the Belle and Sebastian back catalogue.

Judy and the Dream of Horses closed the set in stunning manner, the band jamming superbly, trumpets soaring heavenly. The crowd wanted more - much more, it felt like the band had just got going. Sadly due to the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony taking place across the city, it was the end...for now.

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