The NME declared, "If The Libertines defined the start of the decade and Arctic Monkeys its middle, then Glasvegas are almost certainly going to define its end and beyond." Their debut album went on to enjoy success in the UK (where it went Platinum) and in Sweden (where it went Gold). The impact of the band in the UK and success of their debut album did not go unnoticed in North America, which saw the band tour an unprecedented six times between October 2008 and September 2009. The band have mentioned on many occasions during interviews of their commitment to making the breakthrough in the USA and Canada.
On 14 December 2010, the band announced the appointment of a new drummer, Jonna Löfgren from Boden in Sweden.
Glasvegas's second album Euphoric Heartbreak was released on 4
April 2011 reaching No. 10 in the UK and No. 1 in Sweden. Despite
the album receiving critical acclaim, sales were lower than their
eponymous debut and just over six weeks later Columbia Records announced
to the band they would be terminating their contract with them.
The Indie Rock band and their major label officially parted company
on 4 August 2011.
The band was formed by cousins James Allan and Rab Allan in the
summer of 2003 with Paul Donoghue and Ryan Ross on drums completing
the line-up soon after. Local gigs in and around Glasgow were frequent
and in May 2004 the band released a self financed limited edition
double A-side single, "I'm Gonna Get Stabbed"/"Ina
Lvs Rab" on CD. The single gained an early and positive
review for Glasvegas from Rick Fulton of the Daily Record on 24
December 2004. The single (along with some early demos) gained (their
first) radio airplay and favourable feedback from Jim Gellatly on
his radio show 'Beatbreakers' in January 2005, which was broadcast
on the now defunct Beat106FM. Although many make the obvious observation
that the band name is a mix of Glasgow (where they are from) and
Las Vegas (the world capital of entertainment), the band have made
it clear many times that this was never the reason why the band
called themselves Glasvegas. According to James (Allan) he liked
the name Glasvegas as it rolled sweetly of the tongue. Another common
mistake is that the band name is split into two words "Glas
Vegas" (especially in the USA) which is incorrect. It has always
been just one word...Glasvegas!
When (Ryan) Ross left in late 2004, the band went on a very brief hiatus until Caroline McKay was asked to join the group in early 2005. Although having never played drums before James asked her to be the drummer because she looked "cool". The band played most of their gigs in and around Scotland through 2005 and 2006 with Caroline performing basic drumming while the more intricate drum parts were taken care of by a drum sample machine on stage operated by Rab. As they played more and more gigs Caroline's skill level increased and the band became increasingly less reliant on the sample machine. It was in 2006 that the band first came to the attention of Alan McGee who saw them play third on the bill at the Glasgow venue King Tuts Wah Wah Hut. McGee was also accompanied that night by ex-Libertine Carl Barât who, on the strength of their performance, offered Glasvegas several support slots with his band Dirty Pretty Things throughout 2006.
In October 2006, the band released a self-financed limited edition
7" vinyl single, "Go Square Go!/Legs'n' Show" on
a small independent record label called WaKS Records followed by
a digital release two weeks later. This limited edition vinyl single
of 500 pressings sold out within days and has since become a collectors
item with the single exchanging hands for a three figure sum on
eBay. On 4 November 2006, the band sold out their launch night gig
for "Go Square Go!/Legs'n' Show" held at the Glasgow Art
School. In mid-December 2006, the band played a special gig in Polmont
Young Offenders Institute which was also a pivotal moment for the
band musically; as it was during this gig that they made the decision
to move away from their reliance on drum samples. The close of 2006
saw the band play their first European gig at La Flèche d'Or in
Paris on 28 December 2006. The band then rounded off 2006 with a
gig at the Proud Galleries in Camden on New Year's Eve.
In early February 2007 (with assistance from Alan McGee), the band made a video for one of their demos, "Daddy's Gone", which was shot in London and in Glasgow's East End. This early video helped pave the way for the song's popularity. In late February 2007, James Allan made the decision to post up all the band's demos on MySpace for free download. With MySpace at the peak of its popularity, these free downloads helped spread the word about Glasvegas and soon their gigs were selling out. On 8 March 2007, the band took time out to play a low key acoustic gig in Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow which attracted the attention of the Glasgow Evening Times.
At the beginning of April 2007 Alan McGee invited the band down to London to play three consecutive club nights that he was involved in; Death Disco @ Notting Hill Arts Club, Kill Surf City @ Punk and Queen is Dead @ Borderline. Over these three days the band also produced their first black and white 'press' shots which were shot by a friend (Sonia Grace) at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London on 6 April. On 25 May, the band played their first festival date at the (now defunct) Isle of Skye music festival before playing their third prison gig at Saughton Prison, Edinburgh on 7 June. On 14 July, the band supported Dirty Pretty Things for the last time at the Hackney Empire in London which saw Glasvegas join the headliners for an encore and on 23 July 2007 another notable first was the band's TV appearance on Death Disco TV in London at The Cuckoo Club alongside Carl Barât and Milburn. Constant gigging throughout the summer saw the band's fan base grow and during the summer of 2007 the band's demo's started to pick up radio airplay in the United States via a St Louis based Internet Radio Station called IChannel. On 22 August 2007, the band travelled once again down to London for some more gigs and while in London the band commissioned their first professional press shots. These photographs were taken by professional photographer Peter Mallet and are still widely used by the press today even though they show the old band line-up. They were taken at Vauxhall Cross and the train station at the Elephant and Castle. That same night the band once again played another sold out gig at Death Disco in London. In the crowd was Tim Jonze (a freelance journalist for the NME) who came along to the gig. He was so impressed by the band's performance that he offered to release their next record despite never having released one before. The band also offered to help in this venture and within a few days Sane Man Recordings was born; the aim was to release 1000 copies of "Daddy's Gone" on 7" vinyl by November 2007.
Prior to the release of the single, Tim Jonze attended the In The City Music Festival in October 2007 and brought several copies of the forthcoming single along with a view to previewing it. According to Tim, he played the single after a keynote speech at a very well attended convention at the festival. The impact of the song was immediate with several label heads making enquiries about the song (and the artist) there and then. One of the most immediate consequences of the buzz generated at "In The City" was Ian Brown asking Glasvegas to support him on several dates in late October 2007. Prior to these support dates Glasvegas announced their intention to play two live shows in Glasgow on consecutive nights (Saturday and Sunday; 13 and 14 October 2007 at the now defunct Barfly, Glasgow). The aim (when the shows were announced at the beginning of October) was to sell out both nights, which was a feat that had never been achieved at the Barfly before by an unsigned band in Glasgow. Both nights sold out and by coincidence NME magazine chose to review Glasvegas for the very first time in their Radar section and review the forthcoming single "Daddy's Gone/Flowers & Football Tops" which was chosen as the single of the week.
Following the release of "Daddy's Gone/Flowers & Football
Tops" on 5 November 2007, record company interest in the band
grew and during December 2007 and January 2008, the band were actively
courted by all the major record labels plus several indie labels.
"Daddy's Gone" sold out and was voted the number two single
of the year by NME magazine even though the band had only produced
After releasing their third limited edition 7" single, "It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry" on 14 February 2008, the band opted to sign to Columbia Records. On 28 February 2008, Glasvegas won the Philip Hall Radar Award at the NME Awards. On 10 March 2008, Glasvegas travelled to the United States where they recorded their eponymous debut album, Glasvegas, at Brooklyn Recording Studios, Brooklyn, New York. The album was co-produced by James Allan and Rich Costey. Glasvegas also filmed the video for their first single "Geraldine" in Brooklyn on 30 April 2008. On return to the UK at the beginning of May 2008, the band embarked on a touring schedule that would continue for over 16 months. On 23 June 2008, Glasvegas released their first Columbia single "Geraldine" which debuted at #11 on the UK singles chart. The summer of 2008 also saw the band make their debut at Glastonbury Festival playing the John Peel Stage on 27 June 2008. On 12 July 2008, Glasvegas played at T in the Park in the Futures Tent. Further debut festival appearances in the summer of 2008 took place at Oxegen in Ireland and on consecutive days on 18 and 19 July 2008 at the Benicassim Music Festival in Barcelona and Madrid in Spain. On 20 July 2008, the band played Latitude Festival where Blondie, who are fans of the band, watched from the side of the stage. On 13 August 2008, Glasvegas were invited as opening support to Muse at Marlay Park on the outskirts of Dublin, and the following day saw the band play their first support with Kings of Leon at the Brixton Academy. On 25 August, Glasvegas released their second Columbia single "Daddy's Gone" which debuted at #20 on the UK Singles Chart. On 30 August 2008, the band played the last ever Hydro Connect Festival near Inveraray in Scotland.
The band's self titled debut album Glasvegas was released on 8 September 2008 and reached #2 on the UK Album Chart. The NME declared, "If The Libertines defined the start of the decade and Arctic Monkeys its middle, then Glasvegas are almost certainly going to define its end and beyond." Their debut album went on to enjoy success in the UK (where it went Platinum) and in Sweden (where it went Gold). The impact of the band in the UK and success of their debut album did not go unnoticed in North America, where the band toured six times between October 2008 and September 2009. The band have mentioned on many occasions during interviews of their commitment to making the breakthrough in the USA and Canada.
At the end of September 2008, the band embarked on their first mini tour of the United States playing Philadelphia, supporting Echo & the Bunnymen at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, Baltimore, Washington DC, before returning to New York City to play the Mercury Lounge. On 6 October 2008, the band started recording a Christmas-themed second album, A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like a Kiss), with a view to releasing it in time for Christmas 2008. Initial recording began at the Electric Lady Studios before the band moved to a Transylvanian Castle in Brasov, Romania. It was the band's intention to release a full album containing ten brand new tracks but due to their tight schedule they could only complete six tracks and the album instead became an E.P.. It was released on 1 December 2008 as a limited edition standalone CD and was also released as a Special Edition CD Box Set alongside their debut album Glasvegas. The band ended 2008 with a UK tour through December culminating with a headline gig at the Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party on 31 December 2008
The band opened 2009 with their second tour of the USA which this time included the West Coast of the USA and Canada. They made their first USA TV appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman on 5 January and a second TV appearance on 14 January 2009 on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Thye rounded off this tour with a sold out performance at the legendary Troubadour on Santa Monica Boulevard. The band followed this West Coast tour by visiting Japan for the first time and playing two sold out gigs in Tokyo and Osaka. On 29 January the band headlined the 2009 NME Awards Tour which ended 21 February 2009 at the Brixton Academy in London. At the 2009 NME Awards on 25 February, Glasvegas performed a live version of "Suspicious Minds" before embarking on a short European Tour which included three support slots with Oasis on 27 February 2009 in Munich, 1 March 2009 in Zurich and 3 March 2009 in Paris.
On 17 March 2009 the band made their first trip to the SXSW Music Festival held in Austin, Texas where they played four gigs over the course of the festival. The band were widely praised by USA press by actually delivering on the hype surrounding them before SXSW 2009. Immediately after SXSW 2009, during March and April, the band played their biggest tour of North America to date playing 24 dates across the continent ending with their final TV appearance on the Last Call with Carson Daly on April 16, 2009.
In May 2009 the band toured several European countries and in June 2009 embarked on their 4th tour of the United States. On their return to the UK, Glasvegas played five support dates with the Kings of Leon. Glasvegas also performed at the Hurricane Festival in Germany on 19 June 2009. On 20 June 2009 the band also (once again) supported Oasis at Slane Castle, Ireland. On 28 June the band made a second (and acclaimed) return to Glastonbury playing on The Other Stage. This performance was filmed by the BBC.
In July 2009, Glasvegas played 9 different festivals in less than 3 weeks; opening the month with a triple header at Roskilde Festival in Denmark on 3 July 2009, then Ruisrock in Finland on 4 July 2009 followed by a 5 July 2009 appearance at Eurockéennes in France. On 11 July 2009, Glasvegas made their second consecutive appearance at T in the Park where they co-headlined the King Tut's Tent. This performance once again was filmed by the BBC. The following day the band made another appearance at Oxegen near Dublin, Ireland where they co-headlined. Glasvegas then played the Benicassim Music Festival in Valencia on 16 July 2009, Gurten Festival in Switzerland on 18 July 2009 and the Melt Festival on 19 July 2009.
Glasvegas were asked to support U2 on their 360° Tour after Bono was given a copy of the band's debut album Glasvegas. In an interview with NME Bono was quoted as saying “that song; It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry, is one of the best songs I‘ve ever heard.” Glasvegas supported U2 across 4 dates in July and August 2009 which were Dublin's Croke Park on 24 July 2009, Wembley Stadium on August 15, 2009, Hampden Stadium on August 18, 2009 and the Millennium Stadium on 22 August 2009.
The band played their 5th tour of the United States beginning July 2009 including their first US Music Festival appearance at Lollapalooza on 8 August 2009. After Lollapalooza the band played the Øya Festival in Oslo, Norway and headlined the Way Out West Music Festival in Gothenburg. In order to make their second support date with U2 at Wembley Stadium on 15 August 2009 the band commissioned a private jet to fly them from Sweden to London. Between the U2 support dates Glasvegas also made their first appearances at the Frequency Festival in St. Pölten, Austria and Pukkelpop in Hasselt, Belgium. Glasvegas ended August 2009 with a second subsequent appearance at the Leeds and Reading Festival.
Glasvegas were nominated for the 2009 Mercury Music Prize,
however lead singer James Allan disappeared just days before the
Awards Ceremony on 8 September 2009. He went missing for a total
of five days before eventually turning up safe and well in New York.
On 11 September 2009, Glasvegas toured the USA and Canada for a
sixth time, supporting Kings of Leon. This support tour ended on
25 September 2009. On 10 October 2009, Glasvegas played the Vena
Festival in Lodz, Poland. This gig in Poland would turn out to be
the last performance of Caroline McKay. The final gig of 2009 was
on 30 October in London where Rab and James played a special acoustic
set for charity.
In January 2010, Glasvegas decamped to California and set up a studio in a multi-million dollar beach house in Santa Monica where for over five months they demoed, tracked and recorded most of the album Euphoric Heartbreak. Santa Monica and its location on Southern California's West Coast had a massive influence on the sound and feel of the new songs.
During this period in Santa Monica, Caroline McKay chose to leave the band before demoing and any recording began, officially leaving on 25 March 2010 citing personal reasons.
The remaining band members stayed in Santa Monica until early May 2010 before returning to Scotland with an album's worth of new material. After a break over the summer, the band headed south to the Assault & Battery 2, a tracking and mix studio in London, with producer Flood through September, October and November 2010. Further post-production took place at the Castle of Doom studios in Glasgow through December 2010 and January 2011. The album was finished a year to the day that the band arrived at the Santa Monica Beach House. Glasvegas opened 2011 with an 8 date tour of Scotland which took the band to places in Scotland that are normally missed out by touring bands. The tour took in Kirkwall, Wick, Forres, Oban, Dunoon, Troon, Hawick and Dunfermline. The band announced the tour to ensure that Scotland would be the first to hear the new music. The tour received positive critical reviews with Simon Price of The Independent on Sunday quoting that "Glasvegas are still – and we desperately need this right now – a band to believe in". The band also announced a showcase tour planned around smaller venues in March 2011 with several dates selling out within hours of going on sale followed by an Academy size tour planned for April/May 2011 to promote the new album.
However, by late February 2011 the relationship between Glasvegas and their record label Columbia Records started to deteriorate which at the beginning of the year would have never been predicted. On delivery of the album in January the label were extremely excited by the album, the quality of songs contained within and the fact it was a marked departure from the debut album! The marketing campaign kicked off in January 2011 with a free track giveaway and the track chosen was the second track on the album The World Is Yours. However the band wanted something more substantial than just a free giveaway and eventually the label gave the green light to the band creating an Album Trailer Movie to go alongside the free giveaway. This helped raise the profile of the free giveaway significantly but the early seeds of discord with the direction of the marketing campaign were sown.
Initial reviews of the album were generally positive with the Daily Record declaring it "'the album of the year!'"
However, by March, the band felt that the marketing campaign that Columbia Records put in place for Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\ was not working and came a poor second to the campaign put in place for the band's debut album. The band had noticed that visual indicators of promotion to raise awareness of the new album was almost non-existent. There was no TV, Radio or billboard advertising for the new album which had a severe impact on raising awareness. This non-awareness was reinforced by the many fans (who had turned up to the band's gigs in March 2011) being unaware of the imminent release of Euphoric Heartbreak. This set the alarm bells ringing within the band and the relationship between band and label started to come undone with the band losing faith in the label's choices and general direction of the campaign.
As an aside one of the most heated areas for disagreement between
band and label was the singles and the fact that Sony (who owned
Columbia Records) were enforcing the On Air On Sale policy for all
their singles. This policy proved to be an utter disaster for Glasvegas
and essentially nullified the impact of the first single "Euphoria,
Take My Hand" which was released immediately as a download
on 7 February 2011 before being released physically on 28 March
2011. As a consequence of the Sony release policy the single received
very little radio airplay and coupled with the fact it was caught
up in the middle of a poor marketing campaign meant it never got
out of the starting blocks in trying to reach a wider audience.
In a rare moment of transparency Sony finally admitted in October
2011 that the on air on sale "does not work" and that
they will "now be looking at each release on a case-by-case
basis" Moving forward towards the imminent release date;
the only thing the band could control was their touring and they
embarked on a grueling touring schedule in the early part of 2011.
The live performance of "Euphoria, Take My Hand" was one
of the many highlights and contributed to raising awareness of the
singles and the forthcoming new album.
On 4 April 2011 the bands sophomore album entered the charts at No. 10 despite the vast majority of the general public unaware it had been released. The album also hit the No.1 spot in Sweden
The album polarised opinion...some reviews criticised the band for being too bold and that the album was too big a departure from their debut whilst others praised this move forward and the high quality songwriting the album contained. NME gave the album a 9/10 matching the score they awarded the bands debut album. They said of the album..."Turning pain into joy is the stuff that dreams are made of for an album as thrillingly ambitious as it is enigmatic".
Clash Magazine praised the band for delivering a more accomplished sound by reassuringly admitting "pioneers they remain"
The BBC declared the album "a triumph" despite all the upheavel with the band in 2010.
Pitchfork felt it was "too bombastic and that it simply numbs you with 50 minutes of novocaine for the soul." while PopMatters (an International Webzine) gave the album 5/10 and said that the "album smears together into one gigantic well-produced stadium anthem, shining like the night sky while remaining just as inert".
The Guardian awarded the album 3/5 but felt "that they were still waiting on an undeniable triumph from Glasvegas".
Finally the Daily Bruin, a Student newspaper based at the University of California, Los Angeles said that the album "may surprise fans at first, with its more majestic and otherworldly music. However, it is a collection of beautiful, well-written and poignant songs worth significantly more of the listener's time than the 48 minutes it will take to listen to the album".
Despite no visible marketing by Sony, a Top 10 position (and a No.1 position in Sweden) was an excellent showing. However the band were extremely disappointed with the marketing campaign (and their label). In a move described privately by the band as knee-jerk reaction; Sony terminated their contract with them just seven weeks after the release. The band would see out the remaining months of their contract and officially parted company with Columbia Records on 4 August 2011, 16 weeks after the release of Euphoric Heartbreak.
After the band's academy tour of Europe and the UK, the band left for their 7th tour of the United States in June 2011 playing to sold out venues in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles. On return to the UK the band played at Rockness in Scotland followed by a headline appearance on the John Peel Stage. Several more festival appearances including a top slot at Where The Action in Gothenburg, Sweden saw the band round of June 2011.
In July 2011, the band toured Australia for the first time playing
three sold out shows at The Rosemount Hotel in Perth, The Metro
in Sydney and The Hi-Fi in Melbourne before making a festival appearance
at Splendour in The Grass held at Woodford 45 miles north west of
Brisbane. The band also made their second trip to Japan to play
the Fuji Rock Festival and then rounded off the summer by headlining
the first ever Famous Grouse Music Festival and playing the V Festival
for the first time.
In October 2011 Glasvegas embarked on a sold out a successful tour of the UK and Ireland starting in Cork, then London and then working their way north via Manchester, Sheffield and York eventually ending with a triumphant gig homecoming gig at the ABC in Glasgow on Halloween.
On 16 September 2011 it was announced that the band's song "The World Is Yours" (the second listed track) from Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\ was featured on the soundtrack to the FIFA 12 video game.
On 25 October 2011 Q released a U2 cover album called AHK-toong
BAY-bi Covered, with various artists covering each track from
U2's 1991 seventh studio album Achtung Baby. Glasvegas were personally
asked by U2 to cover a track and the band chose the 11th track,
"Acrobat". This cover album received widespread critical
acclaim with positive reviews across Europe and beyond.
In February, Glasvegas announced a small run of dates in Sweden
and the UK at the end of March, beginning of April on their official
website and Facebook page. They will be showcasing some brand new
material and have plans to release a third album.
Glasvegas received three nominations for the 2008 Swedish Rockbjornen
awards: Best International Act, Best International Album for Glasvegas
and Best International Song for "Geraldine". In
Q magazine's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2008, Glasvegas was voted
the fifth best album of the year.
The NME Awards are an annual music awards show, founded by the
music magazine NME. Glasvegas have received one award from three
The Mercury Prize is an annual music prize awarded for the best
album from the United Kingdom or Ireland. Glasvegas have received
The Q Awards are an annual music awards show, founded by the music
magazine Q. Glasvegas have received one nomination.
The MOJO Awards are an annual music awards show, founded by the
music magazine MOJO. Glasvegas have received one nomination.
The XFM Awards are an annual music awards show, founded by the
radio station XFM. Glasvegas have received one award from one nomination.
The Vodafone Live Music Awards are an annual music awards show,
founded by Vodafone. Glasvegas have received one nomination.
The UK Festival Awards are an annual music awards show, Glasvegas
have received one nomination.
The Tartan Clef Awards are an annual music awards show. Glasvegas
have received one nomination.
The Rockbjörnen Awards is an annual Swedish music awards show.
Glasvegas have received three nominations.
The UK Music Video Awards is an annual music awards show, Glasvegas
have received four nominations.
Kemet & Maat
: before Judaism, Christianity and Islam