Many moons ago, in the extravagant and denim-clad decade known only as the 1970s, there existed a band comprising of four young men who set about unleashing waves of hard rock on the unsuspecting town of Coatbridge. This band was called Messiah and, as is the way with so many young rock outfits, the band eventually fell apart over time, with members choosing to focus on their careers and family lives. Such was not the case on Saturday the 2nd of December in the Gartsherry Club, however, as for one last time the band was together and let loose forty years-worth of pent up rock on to an eager audience.
Upon entering the club, I was greeted with the sounds of the one-man melodic rock outfit known only as Jeff. Jeff was described later in the night by Messiah front man ‘Malky’ McGonigle as “the sweariest man in Scotland”, which certainly applied that night as it was not long after he had began his set that he proclaimed that Justin Bieber was “a wee wanker”. ‘Nuff said. Jeff’s gruff and deliberately rough around the edges style of singing matched well with his melodious guitar playing, culminating in an acoustic set with all the feeling and style of a true classic 1970s club gig.
Ending on a high note, Jeff brought about the finale to his set with a cover of “Delilah”, which he encouraged the audience to join in with. Such encouragement was not required, as before Jeff had even reached the chorus, there was what can only be described as a choir of audience members singing along, almost drowning out the one-man rocker!
The support act had finished, and the audience was eagerly waiting in anticipation for the prophesied return of the mighty Messiah. Amidst audience members hurriedly getting drinks and arguing over flavours of crisps, a sound erupted over the PA. The band had not begun their set just yet, but as “Hallelujah” played loudly, we knew that it was not long until four decades worth of hard rock was to be thrust upon us. Then, as “Hallelujah” drew to a close, a cover of the late David Bowie’s “Jean Genie” burst out of the speakers; Messiah had arrived. The track was greeted with cheers and applause, with many audience members rushing to get on to the dance floor as quickly as possible. For one night only, the Gartsherry Club had transformed from a quiet social club to a haven of rock.
The set was hard and fast, with the band covering a wide variety of classic rock tracks, ranging from the likes of Nazareth with “This Flight Tonight” to the always classic “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple. The group played a tight-knit and professional-sounding set, one which contradicted the fact that the band had not played until recently since the 70s. Messiah’s hard rock was heavy and full of life, and saw to it that the dance floor was quickly filled with audience members rocking out, moshing, and even, if you would believe it, dabbing along to the music. Something of interest was the fact that Messiah had drawn in fans of all ages, with there being a clear majority of older rock fans present, fully bearded and discussing “how the songs sounded the first time they were played”, but it was the youngsters who dominated the dance floor, remaining there for the entire night.
From the first song, until the last, Messiah dominated their set, bringing with them a feeling of nostalgia for a long gone era of rock music. It may have been the final gig for the Coatbridge quartet, but they sure as hell went out with a bang.