Gig Review: Shinedown / Starset / Press to MECO – O2 Academy, Glasgow (30th October 2018)

An interesting and eclectic lineup hit Glasgow this evening as Brent Smith’s little gang brought Croydon noisemakers Press to MECO and space rockers Starset along as support. Unfortunately, due to being a bit ill, I was later arriving and walked through the doors at about the same time as PtM walked off the stage.

A shame as I know several of our other crew have raved about their live performance. I had a few words with Gavin (who was taking photos for Down The Front) and he said he’d quite enjoyed them. They’d got the crowd going, which is what a support act are meant to do. Maybe next time, guys – my sincerest apologies as I had wanted to see you!

Image by Iain Purdie

I was in good time, though, for Starset about whom I knew the square root of naff all before they walked on stage dressed as astronauts. The guitarist and bassist kept these costumes on for the whole set so I hope they had some kind of aircon built in. Starset are a seven-piece act, including the two electric stringsmiths, a vocalist, drummer, double bass player, cellist and keyboard/violinist (if I’ve identified my instruments correctly)… and they impress live. Very much.

They came onto stage to a mild smattering of applause, which grew noticeably after each track. The only real issue was how cramped they were on stage, by virtue of being hemmed in by Shinedown’s kit – and there being seven of them. Despite this they were, frankly, excellent. Not the type of music I think I’d listen to intently, but certainly wonderful floaty atmospheric material that I’d happily pop on at home. In addition, they had a superb visual setup which really set them out from other bands. Until it all crashed a few seconds into their final song, which sadly meant they ended on a bit of a downer.

This aside, great entertainers who stated that they’d be back – and headlining. So perhaps this is already in the pipeline?

Shinedown (c) Gavin Lowrey

Now, another confession – I’d been tempted to leave a bit early (again, I’ve not been well) once I got a flavour of the headliners who I’ve seen several times before. The thing is, Shinedown are so good live that it’s hard to walk away. So I stayed, even though they ran over their curfew by ten minutes.

Glasgow (the band need to learn how to pronounce this correctly) was treated to sixteen tracks of wonderfully professional music, a great light show and Brent Smith on fine oratory form between songs. He has in the past been a little “preachy” with his audience diatribe, but tonight he absolutely nailed it. While many other acts use their position front and centre as a platform to pontificate about “the man” or somesuch, Smith tonight made us appreciate our friends, our friends to be, and each other. All this around a set including tracks from four of their albums, obviously including a chunk from latest release Attention, Attention.

Amongst the songs we had Brent walking into the crowd, the crowd leading the vocals during their cover of “Simple Man”, and a wonderful display of mobile phone torches waving in the air in a dark auditorium. The performances from Zach, Eric and Barry were as spot on as always and it’s a joy to watch a band so close-knit play so well together.

An acoustic “Amaryllis” was perhaps the highlight of the evening, though “Sound of Madness” live is always going to bring the house down. For those still to catch the band on this tour, get those throat lozenges packed and warm up beforehand – your vocal cords are going to take a battering!

Pictures by Gavin Lowrey


  • Devil
  • Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
  • Cut the Cord
  • Pyro
  • If You Only Knew
  • Bully
  • State of My Head
  • Get Up
  • How Did You Love
  • The Human Radio
  • Enemies
  • Second Chance
  • Amaryllis (acoustic)
  • Simple Man
  • Sound of Madness
  • Brilliant

Shinedown: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube

Starset: official | facebook | twitter | instagram

Press To MECO: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube

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October 31, 2018 4:52 PM

Shinedown were brilliant as always and Starset a real find, pity their computer died so close to the end I’m sure they were well pissed off with that ! I just have one comment, we were in the balcony and found that the instruments were overpowering Brents vocals, in fact the only time we could make out what he was saying was when no instruments were being played so all the comments above were inaudible except for the time he was on his own! I like to be able to make out the main mans vocals at gigs but felt… Read more »