The prospect of going out tonight seemed like a chore. Having to wake up from my comfortable slump on the couch and trek across Glasgow wasn’t something I relished after a week of zero motivation or energy. However, this wasn’t just any old gig. This was Marnie Stern – and if it had been anybody else I might not have bothered moving at all.
The gig was in Glasgow’s relatively new Broadcast venue – one born out of the demise of the Captain’s Rest that used to sit in the City’s West End. Most people felt sadness at its passing, but I say good riddance to tiny basement rooms with sweat dripping off the walls. The only redeeming factor about that place was the quality of the bands that promoter PCL put on. Luckily, this latest establishment is a bit airier… but that didn’t stop the heat building up, to an extent that the band declared it pointless to take off their guitars in the pantomime that is the end of the set before an encore…. as they were too sweaty.
Having seen Marnie and her band a fair number of times, this one was a bit of an odd affair. Not seeming quite her usual unflappably calm self, the flow of the night seemed a bit jerky, and vocals a bit strained. It’s understandable, given that the sound quality was fairly poor – often hard to make out Marnie’s voice over the volume of the rest of the band. I’m sure the girl next to me ‘singing’ part of the tracks might have thought she was helping out… but not where I was standing. With a seemingly marked increase in attendance from previous occasions, it was nice to see that the floor wasn’t simply filled out with hipster looking fucks like myself – instead, a variety of people both in age and appearance. You’ve always got to start fearing for your bands when there are too many pairs of big glasses in the audience.
This certainly isn’t Marnie’s first rodeo, and having already been on tour for a substantial length of time on this trip, there was nothing that could prevent the technical ability of the trio on stage from coming through. Often playing along with fast-paced looped samples, I kept waiting for something to go wrong or slip out of time, but it never did. Despite all of the technical or practical gremlins, our hero was her usual charming self; effortlessly keeping the crowd rapt with everything she did (or didn’t) say or do. With four studio length albums stretching over 6 years to choose from, there was plenty of material to choose from, and the 45 minute set seemed to fly in all too quickly.
I’m glad I got off the couch.