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O2 ABC, Glasgow
Sunday 26th April

Johnny Main

johnny main

theory of a deadman

It was only six months since Theory Of A Deadman last played Glasgow, as the opening act for the Airbourne/Black Stone Cherry UK arena tour, but judging by the hundreds of people queued outside the ABC when we arrived, you could easily think it was a lot longer!

As we made our way inside, the venue was already half full as the techs for support band Beasts finished setting up their gear. By the time the London based trio stepped out onto the stage for their first ever Glasgow gig, the crowd was literally huge!

As it transpired, it wasn't only their first ever gig in Glasgow but as front man Joe Mallory-Skinner explained, it was their biggest ever gig to date - no pressure then, eh? With this no doubt preying on their minds, the band made a low key entrance onstage and wasted no time as drummer Tom Wood got the first number, the fast paced 'Light And Thorns', under way.

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Mallory-Skinner's vocals came through well with his gruff sounding voice tinged with a slight echo giving it an ethereal sound, and it's given a warm reception from the audience at its conclusion. Wood wastes none of their thirty or so minute stage time, throwing out a relentless beat of 'Old Bodies' whilst bass player Jaco Norman tries to keep the crowd at his side of the stage entertained before Mallory-Skinner takes over managing to get some of the crowd clapping along.

'Annie' had a drum led intro before Norman bursts into life as he uses as much of the large stage as he can whilst Mallory-Skinner gives his most complicated vocal of their set as he does his best to hold onto the longer notes without wavering. The mid-paced 'The Cat And The Crow' includes some well executed three part vocals, through the slightly muddy sound before Mallory-Skinner succinct guitar solo.

theory of a deadman

The bands new single, 'My Girl Is A Serpent', is the band's new single (scheduled for release on 25th May) is an enjoyable number and it's certainly appreciated by a small group of head bangers down the front as Wood really pounds the skins before its sudden end and unexpected end.

'Crying Blood' shows off the bands softer side as Norman sashayed around the stage whilst Mallory-Skinner's vocals remain uncomplicated until the wick is turned up during the chorus as the track really comes alive. The heavier mid-section gets the crowd going and at its conclusion is met with a loud ovation with only a simple thank you from Mallory-Skinner.

theory of a deadman

By this point, the band definitely seem to be more relaxed as Mallory-Skinner confidently takes centre stage in between verses of 'Shades Of Blue' showing his passion for the material, which slowly but surely seems to be rubbing off on the audience.

The band's set closes with 'More Of The Same', which is another slower number and it's a great end to the set and as the band exit the stage to generous applause it seems like they have gained some more fans tonight so let's hope they capitalise on it and return to the city soon for their own headline show.

theory of a deadman

Beasts Setlist:
Light and Thorns
Old Bodies
The Cat and The Crow
My Girl Is A Serpent
Crying Blood
Shades Of Blue
More of The Same

Beasts are:
Joe Mallory-Skinner – Guitar/Lead Vocals
Jaco Norman – Bass/Backing Vocals
Tom Wood – Drums/Backing Vocals

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With Theory Of A Deadman due on stage at 9:00pm, the practically sold out crowd got louder and louder as the minutes ticked away. As the house lights finally dimmed, the intro music (from TVs Game Of Thrones, I was told) blasted out of the PA, a roar from the audience showed they were ready and raring to go.

The band didn't keep them waiting long, though, as they walked on and got straight down to business with 'So Happy'. It's a good solid start to the set as front man Tyler Connolly paces the stage with microphone in hand and guitar slung over his shoulder, before bass player Dean Back joined him wandering about in the latter stages of the song. "Make some fucking noise Glasgow!" says Connolly to a huge cheer before laying down his guitar solo.

With this being the tour to promote their most recent album, 2014s 'Savages', the band chose to perform a total of four of tracks from it. "Welcome to the Panic Room" shouted Connolly as they launch into 'Panic Room' where strobe lights are the order of the day before the chorus where the audience collectively punch the air without any encouragement at all needed from the band. Blinding lights and dry ice fill the stage during 'Blow', which gives Connolly the chance to loose his guitar and concentrate on getting the crowd enthused. A slower paced number it may be, but it certainly didn't lack any passion. The final track aired was the bands new single, 'Angel', which was slotted in further down their set list, but judging by the audience reaction it seems to be a firm favourite already.

The final number from the new album, 'Drown' sees Connolly changing guitars before the murky sounding track starts with some rehearsed feedback. Another popular number it seems as pockets of the crowd punch the air whilst a group in front of Back head bang away. Unfortunately Connolly has some issues with his fifties style microphone so some of the first verse is lost before he quickly reverts to his standard one.

Out of the darkness came the voice of actor David Huddleston saying "Your revolution is over, Mr Lebowski.." (taken from the movie The Big Lebowski) before the band launched into 'Lowlife' from their 2011 opus, 'The Truth Is...', which had guitarist Dave Brenner looking like he was loving every minute of the gig as he enthusiastically jumped up and down and singing along.

Arguably the band's most well known song, 'Bitch Came Back', from the same album, wasn't kept back as an encore or at the end of the main set but was placed pretty much in the middle and, predictably, it had the entire audience jumping. "We're pretty good at writing break up songs!" joked Connolly at it's conclusion, and it's hard to argue with that – still, if you're good at it, then why not?

Along with set opener, 'So Happy', a further four songs were pulled from 2008's 'Scars & Souvenirs' album including 'All or Nothing', Connolly takes the time to say how good it is too be back in Glasgow, and I know that every band says it, but for once it sounds like he genuinely mean it. The song itself sees drummer Joey Dandeneau driving the song with a solid and uncomplicated beat whilst the crowd are quite happy to sway along to the beat and still manage to make a lot of noise during the choruses.

'Not Meant To Be' is hampered at the beginning with Connolly having an issue with his guitar but eventually Dandeneau kicks off the song. It's another chance for the crowd to do a bit of singing, which is something they're more than happy to do without any encouragement needed from the band. The final two numbers, 'Hate My Life' and 'Bad Girlfriend' are left towards the end of the evening with the former closing the end of the main set whilst the latter was the bands last song of the evening.

As the band reach the half way point of the evening, Connolly announces "Now for something completely different!" as the band settle down on chairs with acoustic guitars as they prepared for an unplugged segment of the show. Connolly explained that this was a chance for them to play tracks that had influenced the band as they were growing up before settling down to a cover of the Stone Temple Pilots number, 'Interstate Love Song'. It was actually a fairly faithful version with Connolly's voice sounding really bluesy and the crowd embrace the somewhat unexpected addition to the set with warm applause at its conclusion.

Not finished, Connolly mentions that their second album, 'Gasoline' is ten years old and to celebrate the band continues on with 'No Surprise'. It's refreshing to hear the stripped down version while the audience at the front are happy to clap and sing along whilst those towards the back look a bit more reticent to join in. Brenner makes this song his own with the guitar solo really lifting the song before the band leave the stage except for Dandeneau who entertains the crowd with a four minute drum solo.

As the band rejoin Dandeneau onstage, the blast straight into 'Better Off' which has Back leading the way trying to get the crowd involved. It's another fast paced number which has Brenner utilising a talkbox, which adds adding a different feel to the song. The extended mid-section gives Connolly the chance to get the crowd singing one again and the crowd don't let him down!

As the band near the end of their set, 'Santa Monica' has Connolly showing off his guitar skills during the intro as he's bathed in an orange light behind him. He explains is one of his favourite Theory of a Deadman songs and when he announces the title is obviously a firm favourite of the crowd too. Another slower paced number Connolly has a smile on his face that shows he's loving every minute of playing the song.

As the band leave stage after their final number, 'Invisible Man', the comments of Connolly saying that they will be back later this year with the promise of a revised set list to add in some older songs missed off the set list softens the post-gig blues for some.

Judging by the size queue to meet the band post gig, there'll be no shortage of fans ready and willing to part with their hard earned cash once again.

Theory of a Deadman Setlist:
So Happy
Panic Room
All or Nothing
Not Meant to Be
Bitch Came Back
Interstate Love Song
No Surprise
Drum solo
Better Off
Santa Monica
Hate My Life
Invisible Man
Bad Girlfriend

Theory Of A Deadman are:
Tyler Connolly – Lead Vocals/Guitars
Dave Brenner – Guitars/Backing Vocals
Dean Back – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
Joey Dandeneau – Drums/Backing Vocals

Beasts pictures - (c) Main Stage Photography 2015 (

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