We spoke to Glasvegas’ James Allan on his return to Renfrewshire ahead of their gig at The Spree in 2019.
Last year, you embarked on a mammoth tour that commemorated ten years of your seminal debut. Now that you’ve been rehearsing rarities such as ‘Whitey‘, can The Spree expect a career-spanning set?
The truth is it gets harder and harder to make a setlist after each album we make. It’s hard to keep some of the songs out of the setlist. There are always certain songs that I would have liked to introduce. B-sides as well, so maybe there will be a surprise or two. We have a bit more time at the acoustic shows and squeezed in 18-20 songs in the set and we’ve always rehearsed more than we end up playing. But for full band shows, it’s hard to pick. It’s a constant struggle between what we think the audience wants to hear, what I want to play and what everyone else in the band wants.
Sometimes we need to look backwards in order to see the future with greater clarity. Was that the case with the anniversary shows?
Aye, I think so. The 10-year anniversary tour was the first time we played the first album in order and I didn’t expect it to flow so effortlessly. Well, effortlessly isn’t the right word, it’s just that the set flies on its own in that order. When you start your first album, you’re a bit less experienced, but then there is a certain spirit that is freer because you don’t know of the pitfalls. When you are visiting the past, it reminds you of what not to lose.
This’ll be your first visit to Paisley since December 2008. Are you excited to return?
We’re really looking forward to it. I do remember that gig in Paisley in the town hall, it was just mad. The audiences that we’ve had have been glorious, I never get used to it. It’s something that I don’t take for granted and I don’t expect that kind of love for the songs, but I appreciate it every single time and I’m not just saying that.
For an outsider, it seems as though the band is really loving playing together and feeding off the crowd. Is there truth to that?
I would say so. It’s the way that you just asked the question. It’s exactly that, but even more exhilarating. It’s hard to describe what it’s like when you have this thing that you can just lose yourself in. Playing the acoustic shows, it’s a bit more like having a house party and the bigger gigs are more like a street party. We get to play songs in a different way and it’s rawer. Even before the shows, I get to hang out with my cousin in the studio and we just play music together with a pint or two and it’s like the days before the band when we’d practice Oasis songs in my auntie’s living room. Playing with the full band is amazing, but in a different way. We had a blast at Belladrum, Rab was saying that he didn’t think anyone would show up. But when we were onstage, it was full, and people were still trying to get in. Song after song, the tent was just bouncing. We’re so lucky to have that kind of reaction to the music.
Find out more about the band via their website.