LIVE REVIEW: Dylan John Thomas, Murdo Mitchell, RATS, Barrowlands, Glasgow, 11/11/2023
Photo Credit: Lawrence Watson
Dylan John Thomas was back for a third sold out night at the Barrowlands Ballroom on a cold Glasgow Saturday night. The queue snaked around the building with the some of the very patient fans waiting in the cold for over an hour to gain entry. We weren’t convinced it was a night for shorts and t-shirts but many were dressed as such!
Indie rockers RATS were the first support act and the Liverpool band played a blistering set for those lucky enough to gain early entry to the venue. The quirky song Patsy Decline got the crowd smiling and dancing with vocalist Joe Maddocks asking the crowd to sing along to the lyrics “I really like it when I wake up/The sheets are filled with make up/You’re lying there asleep again”. The crowd clearly appreciated what they were hearing as RATS worked through their more popular tracks Turn It Around, 10 Missed Calls, Figure It Out and Section 60. Weekend was left to the last and the song had a big guitar solo to end the set on a high. There would have been around 1000 in the ballroom by the end of the set to witness the closing track! 8/10
Murdo Mitchell had supported Dylan John Thomas in December last year for his two sold out shows at The Barras, he obviously made enough of an impression for Dylan to invite him back, this time for three nights. There was an impressive entourage on stage with Mitchell, no less than seven musicians on stage, including a celloist and violinist. The standout song from the set was Ghosts, which had everyone working their socks off on stage and a memorable crescendo of instruments near the end of the song. Mitchell treated the fans to three well known cover versions, where every word was sang back to him. The songs being Sit Down by James, Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand and last but not least She’s Electric by Oasis. The ballroom had a great vibe about it now as the crowd sang along to the songs that were played during the interval before the main act. 8/10
Considering that Murdo Mitchell’s set finished at 8.45pm, there were still a lot of fans trying to gain entry so we had an inevitable delay. In fact, Dylan John Thomas didn’t take to the stage until 9.35pm, almost an hour between sets, to allow everyone time to gain access the venue. As the classic hit Seven Nation Army was played over the PA the crowd danced and sang along patiently before a bagpiper led the band on to the stage. Thomas immediately apologised for the delay saying “If that was me waiting I would have just fucked off”. From the first note of the opening track Jenna, one of his most popular songs, the crowd gave as much energy as they could towards the music, and the long delay was very quickly forgotten. The set continued with What a Shame and When I Get Home which fired the young crowd up even more, if that was possible! Dylan John Thomas grew up in the care system and a lot of the songs that he writes are reflective about that period of his life, with lots of raw emotions showing through the lyrics of some of the song he would play tonight. Wake Up Ma silences the crowd as Thomas sings from the heart through a song filled with emotional turmoil “15 foster homes, three meals a day/Can’t fill the hole left in my heart”. The crowd sings along with the chorus “Ma Wake Up Ma” but otherwise stay silent and we could see what this song means for everyone in the room.
Something a bit more uplifting was required after that emotional rollercoaster, and Feel the Fire did the job perfectly quickly followed by Rich Boy, a song released just in September. There was time for a cover of ABBA’s Mamma Mia which everyone knows as the singalong reached an all-time high. Up In The Air was released in October and this was the first tour that the song was played, with a very catchy chorus giving the crowd another chance to get the mosh pits going and sing their hearts out. A Glasgow crowd is unique and they seem to create a good bond with any bands that are playing at Barrowlands especially. After briefly leaving the stage the band were soon back for an encore, playing two last songs Fever and Nobody Else allowing the audience to have one final dance. Sixteen songs was a decent output for an hour on stage from Thomas. His debut full length album will be released in January so that’s one to look out for. This man can do no wrong! 10/10
Written By: Alan Brown