An outsider’s guide to the music scene in Glasgow 

Hello! I’m Rosie Lowndes and I’m the music editor for this year’s team at Qmunicate. Moving to Glasgow was a huge, slightly scary time, but the first time I went to a show, it seemed like home – I’ve always felt very comfortable with going to gigs. They are the same wherever we go: the excitement of the crowd, the real sense of community. Glasgow has its integral spots for the music scene, just like any other city, and I’m going to share my favourite finds since moving here in a completely non-exhaustive fashion, from venues to bands to keep an eye out for.

Before all, it would be amiss to not  highlight one of the most famous and iconic venues in Scotland: the Barrowland Ballroom. My first time seeing a gig there felt like magic. There are stars on the ceiling and spring floorboards for bouncing to the beat (leftover from its days of dance) and all of the biggest acts play here. It truly is the crème de la crème of venues and promises an unmissable night, whoever may be playing. 

Speaking of iconic, one of my firm favourite venues is King Tut’s Wah-Wah hut. The place to play for any aspiring new bands, as well as a distinguished choice of the well-travelled musical groups, King Tut’s is also steeped in music history, having hosted many bands over the years including Oasis, Pulp, Paolo Nutini and more, all documented on their iconic stairs. 

Another personal treasure is Nice and Sleazy’s. I was recommended this venue by a mate in a band way before I came to the city, proof of Sleazy’s UK-wide reputation of cool. Not only do they put on some killer club nights for music and entertainment, they also regularly host bands in their underground bar. Definitely worth the trip to Sauchiehall Street.

Keeping my ramblings brief, Mono is a final venue I think is definitely worth expanding on.  Café, record shop, and bar combined into one light and airy venue, they also put on some of the best new acts, with a very cool split level set-up. 

A few more of my picks for venues would include St Luke’s (bit of a trek, but worth it for the gorgeous stained glass windows and solemn atmosphere punctuated by the noise of the most energetic bands around), The Flying Duck (innocuously tucked away in a side street, but brimming with fun and varied acts), Macsorley’s (for chilled sets of Blues & Country over a pint) The Blue Arrow (for uber-cool jazz) and Box (for weekly open-mic nights).

Glasgow is absolutely chock-full with new talent, having often been described as the best city for music lovers.  Here are some of the Scottish bands that, over my first year in Glasgow, have really caught my attention and are undoubtedly worth seeing. 

Vlure is one of my all time new beloveds, their talent being spoken of far and wide. I’ve actually had people be jealous of me for being in a position that allows me to see them so frequently. Combining dance-floor electronica with Glasgow’s very own brand of punk, they are energetic and raw, and so, so stylish. Often found in kilts and tattoos, their followers emulate the trench coat, beret, tartan and patches look. 

Walt Disco are another Glasgow band worthy of mention as a ‘catch them if you can’. Glamorous and edgy, they perfectly encapsulate the grit Scotland’s music scene is well-known for. Moreover, Medicine Cabinet, Pretty Preachers Club  and Lucia and the Best Boys seem to be the bands currently at the top of their game in this city. But, with Glasgow being a place bursting with ever-changing variations and people wanting to express their musical talent, my advice would be to get out there, either with a friend or on your own to make new friends, see a random band for some very reasonable prices, and just lose yourself on the dancefloor (but wear sensible shoes in the mosh pit please, for your own sake).

[Rosie Lowndes (She/Her) | Music Editor | @rosie.lowdes]

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