We had no idea of the support for this gig and therefore the stage times, so I gave them a call earlier in the evening. I got a wonderfully unhelpful (though he did try!) chap who guessed that with a door time of 7, the main band would be on at 8. Yeah, erm, ok.
I’m glad we aimed for 8:00 anyway as the Queen Margaret Union is your typical student union place and therefore, for reasons I’m sure nobody can adequately explain, insists that you provide them with your name, address and email so they can admit you as a “guest”. This resulted in a queue about 150 people long as each person used the one frigging pen they had on the door to fill in their details. Seriously, QMU, it’s a gig. People have paid for tickets. I think they’ve earned the right to be a guest without having to stand in the cold for 10 extra minutes.
Anyway, the venue itself was moderately small but with lovely staff – the upside of most student venues. On the downside I was reliably informed by one of the security staff that “crowdsurfing is illegal – we’re supposed to drag anyone out who tries it” and also that moshpits are not allowed. Although, in fairness, he did say there would be no bloody way he’d try and stop a crowd of people kicking crap out of each other if they were happy with it. So just in case any death metal, thrash or hardcore bands are considering playing the QMU – don’t.
We missed the first support band (we didn’t even know there were two), but I managed to get a drink from the crowded bar just as The Crave came on stage. They’re not bad, a bit middle of the road and took a while to get going. As their set progressed, the songs got a little more catchy and energetic. After a slow start, I quite liked them by the time they finished.
Theory of a Deadman took a little while to hit the stage, wandering on at around 9:40. They kicked things off with “Gentleman” and managed to go straight into the “which side of the crowd can sing the loudest” competition midway through their second song.
The most apparent thing was that the sound was actually worse than I’d come to expect at the Academy. Really murky and difficult to make out the instruments and the vocals at times. I guess it comes down to the size of the venue with sound waves bouncing all over the place, but it took a long time to get used to it. Even the speech between songs was muffled at times.
This is a shame as the band put on a decent performance, though nothing as energetic as last week’s Shinedown gig – which, in fairness, is likely to rate as one of my gigs of the year even by December. The last time I saw Theory was opening for Alter Bridge a few months ago and we only saw the end of their set. The sound at the SECC was far better that night, so at least I know what they can sound like. The sound on the video I took was warbly as well – the only venue this has happened at.
While I’m whinging, the lighting was poor as well. Only the centre of the stage received any reasonable amount of light during the evening, hence the small number of photos I’ve uploaded.
Still, it wasn’t a bad gig. Like the support, ToaD warmed up as they went through, saving the more popular songs for later in the set. They do offer a good mix of material though, as singer Tyler Connolly admitted, they’re well known for their prodigious output of “break-up” songs. Of which they played a few. No harm when they’re good material.
Not a classic gig, mainly due to the poor acoustics, and I’d like to catch them again somewhere better. In future I think I’ll be wary of the QMU. My apologies to anyone who works there. As I said, the staff were lovely – it’s simply the size and the shape of it that makes it pretty poor for a loud concert.