MUSIC | Glasvegas go big at the Varsity Theater

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There wasn’t anything small about Glasvegas’s show at the Varsity Theater on Tuesday night, whether you are measuring crowd size, sound, or even stage presence. The four-piece Glaswegian band blew away their sold out audience with stadium rock amplitude that could probably have overwhelmed even a much larger venue. From the dramatic set opener “Geraldine” to the closing bars of the encore “Daddy’s Gone,” the Scots’ energy never flagged and neither did their sound.

Glasvegas’s set was filled almost entirely with tracks off of the band’s recent self-titled debut, including the singles “It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry” and “Go Square Go.” Lead singer James Allan is lacking in vocal range, and many of the band’s Brit-pop songs are fairly homogenous in sound, but the foursome did have an engaging stage presence that kept them in constant frenzied motion. Lead guitarist Rab Allen was particularly enthusiastic, shredding with boundless energy and a very dramatic style, seeming almost manic against the backdrop of the stage’s blinding strobe lights and smoke. Still, despite the group’s infectious passion, their U2-styled rock anthems grew a bit stale by mid-show. The many fans in attendance didn’t seem to be let down, though, as many stuck around until well after the set’s ending to have their hands kissed by the lead singer (the ladies) or to give him high fives (the fellas).

Californian all-female trio Von Iva opened the show with synth and percussion dance jams led by spirited lead singer Jillian Iva in six inch heels and a short skirt. While the band’s music was well-performed (the drummer, Kelly Harris, was particularly good), Iva simply does not have a particularly good voice. She didn’t seem to realize this, though, as she did quite a bit of overdramatic vocal riffing (a la Beyoncé) that was shockingly out of tune. Perhaps it was an off-night, but the contrast between Von Iva and the professional-sounding Glasvegas was glaring.

Jon Behm (jonbehm@gmail.com) is a Minneapolis-based photographer and writer. While his specialty is music, Jon has a wide variety of interests that tend to take him all over the Twin Cities on a daily basis.

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