wed 24/07/2024

Gossip, SWG3, Glasgow - a reunion tour worth celebrating | reviews, news & interviews

Gossip, SWG3, Glasgow - a reunion tour worth celebrating

Gossip, SWG3, Glasgow - a reunion tour worth celebrating

Dance-punk trio bring pre-Pride party vibes to Glasgow

Beth Ditto's huge voice defines Gossip, but the rhythm section adds the magic

If there was a downer during the giddy, gleeful Glasgow stop of Gossip’s recent run of shows, it was only when front woman Beth Ditto introduced the band as being “not really together but we’re here”.

The dance-punk trio - joined, for this short run of reunion shows, by pre-split touring members Chris Sutton on bass and Gregg Foreman on keyboards - were made to front sweaty rooms, with Ditto in particular a gleaming vision in a sleek black wig and metallic pink dress.

The occasion may have been the 10th anniversary of the band’s Rick Rubin-produced 2009 album, Music For Men - hence the huge cover art backdrop, featuring drummer Hannah Blilie’s gorgeously androgynous face - but the set list was wider and the atmosphere one of joyous communion. That meant waving to and greeting several audience members by name, and an extended break for us to wish a musical happy birthday to Blilie’s girlfriend.

“Pop Goes The World”, with its strident chorus and message to stand up and be counted, was a strong opener, with Marvin Gaye-aping “Lone Long Distance” (“I heard it through the bass line…”) turning a kiss-off to a long-distance lover into an empowering Friday night dance anthem thanks to its syncopated beat and huge “woooooooooah” chorus. “Listen Up!”, from 2006’s breakthrough album Standing in the Way of Control, paired a stripped back, bass-heavy opening that threw it right back to the band’s punk roots with the sort of strident, cobweb-clearing chorus that should be bottled and sold as a cure for clinical depression.

While Ditto’s huge, room-filling voice, like a punk Aretha Franklin or Etta James, grabs you immediately, Blilie’s drumming and guitarist Brace Paine (going by his Sunday name of Nathan this time around) add the magic. “Vertical Rhythm” is - appropriately enough for the title - as much about the drumming and the ominous little electro riff that chugs along underneath as the lyrics, while “Your Mangled Heart” becomes a real down and dirty Southern rock number, Foreman swapping out his keyboard for a tambourine to draw attention to the bassline.

While the the timing of the show could only have been a coincidence given the difficulty Glasgow has had in pulling together a proper Pride celebration this year, the temptation to treat the show as a warm-up for the following day’s parade was irresistible. As outspoken advocates for LGBTQ rights, Gossip inevitably delivered: rainbow disco strobes accompanied proud anthem “Men In Love”, while Ditto later remade “Careless Whisper” in her own inimitable style.

Self-love was equally on the agenda: Xenomania collab “Move In The Right Direction” was the kind of mood-lifting onwards-and-upwards style anthem that pretty much paved the way for Sigrid’s whole career, while even the heartbreaking “2012” was elevated by another one of Ditto’s room-filling notes. Later, “8th Wonder” was dedicated to Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill - with a few bars of the recently reunited riot grrrls’ “Rebel Girl” thrown in for good measure.

But the best bit? Gossip are a band you simply can’t stand still for. The entire room was dancing during “Heavy Cross”, while the phenomenal “Standing in the Way of Control” near blew the roof off the cavernous former warehouse.

Lisa-Marie Ferla's website

Gossip are a band you simply can’t stand still for.


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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