Any time I have wanted to see a band play live… I have always got my way!

Some were phenomenally amazing as expected, some were surprisingly fantastic, some were train wrecks that you couldn’t believe… but most importantly, every gig was entertaining and memorable for one reason or another!

There is no greater feeling than being part of a crowd, in a venue, waiting impatiently for an artist or band or DJ you love to take to the stage. When the lights dim low, you get that rush of excitement that signifies that the music is going to start. There’s that exact moment of electric energy you get when you see the silhouettes appear on stage. At that precise moment in time, you and your friends, the group of people beside you, the guy in the white top bouncing up and down blocking your view, the screaming fanboys and fangirls getting their ribs crushed at the front of the stage are collectively there, as one, sharing a unique musical experience and feeling:

You dance, you sing, you bounce… You may even cry a wee bit… You get showered with beer… You end up a sweaty mess… You take blurry pictures… You tweet… You take a shaky video… You sing and bounce some more… You talk to randoms… You jump up and down with your friends…  You have an emotional breakdown at the encore… You buy a poster… You spend £50 on a hoodie… You have a near death experience when the crowd stampedes to freedom… You eventually end up home after a few lost hours… You check the blurry photos and shaky videos… You  tweet and post comments about it… You text your friends… You share your photos… You end up with a feeling that makes you smile and reminisce about it all… A feeling that will probably last you a lifetime…

Back in January 2012, I got a hold of tickets for Lostprophets for their gig at the O2 Academy in Glasgow where Modestep would be supporting! Fast forward to Wednesday 25th April 2012 and it was gig time! After meeting up with Katie, Emma and Brandon, we went for some refreshments and some banter! Before leaving to go to the O2 Academy, Last Train Home started playing in the pub we were in! It was fate! So we had another skittle bomb or two, waited until the song was finished, jumped in a taxi to get to the gig and waited in the rain for a few minutes while Brandon and I laughed at the sullen faced emo kids in matching black hoodies while Emma and Katie danced excitedely with their scarves!
We got inside, looked about, found our spot to watch the gig, waited for the lights to dim and got ready for that ever familiar live music experience…


The silhouettes appeared… the drums started, the guitar and bass started… The singing started… But something wasn’t quite right…
Where was Ian Watkins? Not only did he miss his cue to mime his way through the first song, he mimed his way through the majority of the set list, limply singing and occasionally making a pitiful attempt to croak through a megaphone. Looking like he would rather have been anywhere else but on the stage, his lacklustre enthusiasm was bitterly disappointing. Obviously he has a certain “appeal” to easily impressionable, over emotional and the downright ridiculously depressing fanboys and fangirls, but this guy had the stage presence of a brick.


Thank god for the other band members. Even though they were dressed in matching jackets and T-shirts and looked like Westlife being forced to hold guitars whilst held at gun point in Primark, they at least delivered a good performance and ran through track after track. Jamie Oliver on keys was exceptionally energetic as was Lee Gaze and the others. According to the Twitter Trolls, poor Ian was ill and it was HASHTAG SHOCKING that people dared express their opinion of the gig. What was HASHTAG HILARIOUS was the onslaught of abuse directed towards people who, like me, found Lostprophets quite… well… surprisingly disappointing! I think the fanboys and fangirls must’ve had too much Ribena before bedtime as they were using terribly vulgar words like FUCKOFF and DOUCHEBAG! On twitter! #OMG I was so upset I almost yawned.

Illness or no illness… the lack of interaction with the paying audience who turned up eager to be impressed and entertained was ceratianly an issue. It was most obvious that there was some sort of problem going on and maybe explaining his despondency, even a little light hearted jest as to what was going on or even an attempt at performing would have left me with a less than bitter taste in my mouth. By the time the songs that I had wanted to hear were getting played, I had already become too engrossed in the Twitter war of words to care.

As disappointing as Watkins may have been… he did do one thing right! And that was to have Modestep as their support act! I don’t know how to even describe them other than absurdly brilliant! They are one of those hybrid live / DJ groups who assault your ears with a combination of live drums & guitars and samples of guttural techno and metal and nosebleed inducing dubstep and drum & bass. Thrashing their way through a 40 minute set, they encouraged mosh pit activity much to the security staff’s dismay and gave an unexpectedly electric performance of tracks such as Feel Good, Sunlight and To the Stars. As much as I liked them, there was something about them that didn’t quite sit too well with the sulking and skulking crowd. Maybe they’d have been better with Skrillex who played at the O2 Academy the previous week?

So there we have it. Not often can you say that the support act was better than the main act. But I am afraid to say, as much as I like the song, this was one of those times where hearing Last Train Home wasn’t just about listening- it was a command that I was only too happy to obey.


About johnmcblain

Scottish Musician, Artist and Lecturer in Music & Sound Production.

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