Observations: Pay homage to the venue that launched Oasis and Glasvegas
Friday 19 February 2010
That a concert venue in a major city should make it to 20 years old is a feat, but hardly unique. For Glasgow's King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, though, the sense of history accompanying today's anniversary is well-earned. This was where, in May 1993, Creation Records boss and native Glaswegian Alan McGee first saw Oasis play, deciding to sign them before they had finished their second song. And so the 1990s, Britpop and Cool Britannia all sprang from a 300-capacity upstairs room just off the M8.
A quick search on YouTube will reveal footage of the night in question, alongside McGee waxing nostalgic. "There were only about 12 people there," he recalls, "Me, my sister and some Japanese tourists... I'd had about four or five double Jack Daniels and cokes, I was a bit wavery." As, it seems, are the memories of Glasgow's gig-goers. "If everyone who's told me they were in Tut's that night actually had been," says Dave McGeachan, long-serving promoter with the venue's owners DF Concerts, "there would have been about 3,000 people in." The show ranks alongside the Sex Pistols' gig at Manchester's Lesser Free Trade Hall in June 1976 as one of the most coveted "I was there" moments in British musical history.
McGeachan is keen to talk up the venue's other boasts. In 2009 it hosted roughly 330 gigs, and lends its name to a stage at the T in the Park festival. Over the years the likes of Blur, Radiohead, the Strokes and Coldplay have played pre-fame shows, with Primal Scream, Paolo Nutini and the Manic Street Preachers selecting it for intimate sets at the height of their careers, the latter two as part of this month's ongoing birthday celebrations.
And the McGee-discovering-bands thing is becoming a habit. Three years ago he took his friend Carl Barât to see a brand new Scottish group play there, and so impressed was the sometime Libertine that he helped them on their way to a major record deal. That group was Glasvegas, so take note if you ever see McGee ordering another JD and coke in Tut's.
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