This Prides review was written by Suzanne Oswald, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Michael Liggins. Header photo by Martin Waters
Tonight, Prides return to Glasgow for a triumphant homecoming gig at the legendary King Tut’s, following a mammoth UK tour which is now coming to an end. The gig is billed as an intimate one, allowing 300 fans the opportunity to see the band up close before their sell out show at the ABC just down the road, the following night.
Having been supported by fellow Scottish rockers Fatherson on this tour, they are joined by the band’s lead singer, Ross Leighton, and his acoustic guitar tonight. It’s a special treat for the audience, as he performs a number of beautifully stripped back versions of songs from Fatherson’s debut album ‘I Am An Island’, allowing us to appreciate the lyrical poignancy behind songs such as ‘James’, ‘Mine For Me’ and ‘I Like Not Knowing’, usually so big in sound, with thrashing guitars and percussion. It’s a pity that the crowd is quite talkative throughout his set, but he is able to fill the room with his impressive vocal range, and manages to encourage a few singalongs before departing.
As the lights go down for the headline act, ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ from Disney’s The Lion King is humorously played out over the PA, swiftly getting the crowd ready for a good night. It certainly does the trick as they give Prides a heroes’ reception when they take the stage. Swigging from a bottle of red wine, the band are clearly in the mood for a party; frontman Stewart Brock tells the crowd that “This tour has been so long, but it’s so good to be back.”
Kicking things off with ‘It’s Not Gonna Change’, it’s clear that in spite of the gig’s ‘intimate billing’, Prides do not plan on stripping things back tonight; the synth-pop trio are as loud as ever. ‘Higher Love’ provides the first big singalong moment of the set, building up to a huge, stomping chorus with an infectious synth hook to follow. Brock’s husky vocals shine on the song, while his passion and enthusiasm energises the crowd.
Prides have said themselves that they are “as rock and roll as a flannel”, they make unashamedly huge pop anthems, heavily inspired by 80’s synth pop. Their debut album ‘The Way Back Up’ is littered with arena-sized choruses, catchy synth hooks and air-punching moments, and this makes for a gig full of crowd participation. What becomes clear is that they are a very tight live act; the slick production makes for a well-crafted, glossy sound that is nearly album perfect on songs such as ‘Let It Go’, ‘The Way Back Up’ and ‘Little Mistakes.’
A cover of Ellie Goulding’s ‘On My Mind’ fits perfectly into the set and is perhaps indicative of their influences and future direction. Led by drummer Lewis Gardiner and with tight electric guitar licks from Callum Wiseman, it has more substance than the original.
There is a great feel-good atmosphere throughout the gig, which is helped by the band’s obvious affinity with Glasgow crowds. The banter with the audience in between songs gives the night an enjoyably informal feel, which makes it seem like a night out with old friends.
After jumping into the middle of the crowd for a dance on ‘Just Say It’, the band begin their encore with ‘The Kite String and the Anchor Rope’. It provides a welcome change of pace, and sees King Tuts held to silence with hundreds of lights raised above heads. Fatherson’s Ross Leighton provides delicate harmonies with Wiseman and Brock as everything is stripped back, providing a real standout moment.
Normal service then resumes as the gig finishes with two massive songs, ‘The Seeds You Sow’ and ‘Messiah’, with the crowd bouncing in unison with the band. It’s exciting to see Prides in an intimate venue such as this, as judging from the reaction tonight, it won’t be long before they achieve the mainstream success they deserve.