Fate had always conspired against me seeing GUN in the flesh, whether it be due to a lack of cash, work commitments, or the band taking a decade-long sabbatical, there was always SOMETHING getting in the way. Until finally, on Friday the thirteenth of all days, I caught their gig at the O2 ABC in Glasgow.
As you probably know, GUN – sabbatical aside – have been around for quite some time. In fact 2014 will see them celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of their first album, Taking on the World. So, after such a long time in the music business, does this mean they’re planning to slow down and take things easy any time soon?
If this gig was any indication – not a chance!
The setlist spanned all of GUN’s 25 years. Obviously the band has new material they want to get out there, but unlike some artists I could mention, they don’t shortchange loyal fans by refusing to play the songs that made them famous in the first place. So, after kicking things off with 14 Stations from their latest album, Dante, Jools and the guys tore through hits such as Better Days, Money (Everybody Loves Her), Inside Out, Taking on the World, Steal Your Fire, Money to Burn and Word Up. Sprinkled into the mix were other tracks from Break the Silence and a sneak preview of a track from GUN’s forthcoming album due for release in the Spring.
The foot was briefly lifted off the accelerator as the band was joined onstage by Donald McLeod and a rather good vocalist called Stephanie for a couple of acoustic songs including Fairytale of New York. Before starting, Dante admitted that they had debated whether to include the Pogues classic at all, and predicted that they’d probably feck it up. And sure enough it did have a rather under-rehearsed feel to it, but it was all good fun and the audience loved it. Besides, everyone loves a singalong at Christmas don’t they?
So it was back to full throttle for the final two songs of the evening. And in boxing parlance the guys left nothing in the ring. Welcome to the Real World was followed by an absolutely thunderous rendition of Shame on You to sign off in some style.
Make no mistake, GUN are in a good place right now. Their new material stands shoulder to shoulder with anything they’ve done before, and in terms of performing live, they can mix it with the very best.
Dante Gizzi is an inspired choice as lead singer. Not only can he sing, which even I know is a bit of a pre-requisite, he also has the swaggering confidence and stage presence all good front men must have. His brother Giuliano and Johnny McGlynn on lead guitars are both top notch operators, as are Michael McDaid on Bass and Paul McManus on Drums. Given that this was the first time I’ve seen GUN live, I can’t tell you how this lineup compares to previous ones. All I can tell you is that in their current form GUN look like they’re ready to take on the world all over again.
No doubt there will be a tour to accompany the release of their new album, so if they roll into your town, you really should go see them.