Secondalbum syndrome is very much like the common cold; seemingly incurable but would benefit society immeasurably if it could be eradicated. It is the seeming inability for a band to follow up a debut masterpiece with anything resembling their earlier glories, something that has afflicted Glasvegas particularly badly.
The problem is that the bar was set particularly high by their eponymous debut, which always makes a follow up difficult. Their iTunes Festival appearance at The Roundhouse served to confirm the lack of quality in their new material when juxtaposed with older songs.
Sometimes even the older songs didn’t go down well with ‘Flowers and Football Tops’ being played at half speed on an organ without guitars or drums. Lead singer James Allen stopped singing and held the mic out to the audience for what should have been a mass singalong, only to receive deafening silence.
‘Geraldine’, ‘My Own Cheating Heart’ and ‘Go Square Go’ all received warmer welcomes, alongside recent single Euphoria Take My Hand’ but the best reception was reserved for the final song of the evening, the anthemic ‘Daddy’s Gone’.
Earlier on the night we had been treated to Faris Badwan’s side project Cat’s Eyes, channelling the spooky and menacing psychedelia and Wall Of Sound distortion. Their set was divided between gloomy indie and melodic tracks that usually centred around Canadian soprano and composer Rachel Zeffira on either organ, clarinet or marimba. We’re nothing if not fans of unusual instruments and Zeffira’s classical background complemented Faris’ conceptual experimentalism perfectly.
Glasvegas however, had none of the intrigue of their support and gave us more questions than answers, such as why must James insist on wearing white? Why does he sing through a hosepipe? And why won’t new drummer Jonna Lofgren just sit down? The answers may possibly be found in James obvious ‘tired and emotional’ state or maybe, just maybe, this is building up to an incredible comeback and perhaps their third album could see them achieve the potential they so clearly have.