Glasvegas – Thekla, Bristol

Wednesday 17th October, 2018

Glasvegas should be a huge band. Anthemic songs, thumping drums, loud guitars and a moving back story. Their self titled debut album is a decade old this autumn, hence the tour. If you don’t own a copy, buy it. It’s an album I’ve loved since I first heard it. So I was understandably excited when the tour was announced and the Bristol date was one I could make, on the good ship Thekla. A more perfect combination of band and venue I don’t think I’ve found. Theirs is exactly the sort of loud, in your face music Thekla is good at.

I was way later arriving at this gig than usual, and than I would have planned. For a good reason. I was attending the Sepsis Trust’s Bristol support group meeting. If you have been affected by sepsis in any way then please get in touch with them. Meeting other survivors and those who have been bereaved has helped me come to terms with what happened to me 3 years ago. I was lucky, the A&E nurse thought sepsis and started treatment immediately, my battered immune system responded to the antibiotics and I was well cared for by the amazing NHS staff of the hospital I now work at. But there were of course scars, both physical and mental. PTSD is common in sepsis survivors and I do occasionally get flashbacks myself. Physically I am left with scar tissue internally (yes this can be painful) as well as aching joints and my asthma may or may not have gotten worse as a result. Being with others who understand and with whom you can share freely is a real gift.

Music is partly what saved me. With antibiotic drips in both arms, feeling very ill from the powerful drugs with side effects that included nausea, dizziness, all sorts of bowel issues and a feeling like there were insects crawling inside my veins, I couldn’t read, use a screen or watch TV. About all I could manage was listening to music. So when I say music is my everything, I do really mean it.

What I have taken from surviving sepsis is the strength and courage to find who I am. To engage in my passions and to embrace the world in a way I wouldn’t otherwise. 40 gigs was a reaction to many life altering things, it was also a tale of survival.

Glasvegas. A band of survivors. Using creativity (loud rock n roll) to share and heal their own pain. To help others in theirs. You want songs about missing fathers, social workers, depression, drug use, gangs, knife crime and surviving all that? Then you come to Glasvegas. There is a lot of howling pain on this record. A lot of crashing, driving drums and wailing guitars. But there is so much hope and redemption in it too. They survived. And so did I.

So despite arriving barely 5 minutes before Glasvegas took to the stage and struggling to find a spot to enjoy the gig from, and needing liberal use of my asthma inhaler during the gig, this will be a gig I treasure.

I wound up at the top, on the balcony, overlooking the stage. Ah who cares about the netting I could at least see the band from here and had some space to cut loose. Which I did to Go Square Go which was fucking awesome. Those drums. To be able to jump and bounce and sing loudly and lustily along to the almost football terrace chant of the refrain gave me life.

I wound up having to leave during the encore as my asthma was getting worse and I needed cooler air and the safety of home.

If last week shook my confidence and faith in people, tonight restored it. Turns out all I needed was a little kindness, a cuddle, and some boys with very loud guitars.



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