Glasgow has long been recognised as one of the UK’s, and indeed Europe’s, most important cities where exciting, independent music is concerned. Ever since Postcard Records set out a blueprint for shap-edged, soft centred Indie in the ear Eighties, the city has become synonymous with forward thinking music, be it the charge led by Franz Ferdinand during the mid 2000s or the current crop of labels and collectives like Lucky Me! or Numbers. As with any other city of its size and student population, Glasgow is not short of bars and clubs, but one special venue sees in its 20th birthday this year and the city’s musical community is gathering round to help celebrate.
Nice N Sleazy opened in 1991 on Sauchiehall Street, now one of Glasgow’s principal thoroughfares for those on a night out. At the time the scene was slightly different: there was no Centre for Contemporary Arts, no Garage and the ABC was still operating as a cinema. Opening as a bar with an intimate venue downstairs, Sleazy’s started with a train of thought that’s been consistent over the past two decades. “There were so few bars that you could go into where you knew you were going to hear good music” said music booker Mig in an interview in 2008. ” Most of them just had a chart CD behind the bar. When we first got a jukebox we told the company we didn’t want any of their CDs and put all our favourites in instead”
The same approach applied to the type of bands that were booked to play at the venue. From the outset Sleazy’s set out to provide a platform for bands that mightn’t have got much of a look in anywhere else in town. This soon kickstarted an community of musicians who’ve held Sleazy’s close to their heart ever since. In an interview with Scotland’s foremost music sheet The Skinny, Franz Ferdinand’s Paul Thomson told of his earliest experiences at the venue ““I’ve been coming to Sleazy’s since I was seventeen, which is about eighteen years ago. I went to see AC Acoustics, and John Peel was there too. I’d only recently started listening to Peel as he played a lot of hardcore, like Napalm Death and Extreme Noise Terror, and through his shows discovered The Fall, the Wedding Present, Captain Beefheart, King Tubby and hundreds of other artists that never really fit into what was fashionable at the time. In a way Sleazy’s has always been that way – venues and bars come and go, but Sleazy’s continues, and hopefully will for another twenty years.”
(photo courtesy of Lisa McCartney)
As listed in this week’s Recommends, Arab Strap will reunite for one night only as part of the birthday celebrations. The duo were a massive influence on subsequent generations of Glaswegian bands, so it’s fitting that they should take to the stage. There are a lot of other special surprise guests booked, but the venue is keeping tight lipped about any further details. What is for sure is the amount young local talent who are on board for the celebrations. Django Django are currently on the road in support of their new single, the infectious ‘Waveforms’. They’ll bring their run of shows to a close at Sleazy’s at the end of the month. Fat Cat alumni The Twilight Sad also take to the stage for a sell out show on Friday 19th. FOUND, the Fence Collective favourites who featured in Recommends some months ago after pressing their new single on an edible chocolate record, will play with Over The Wall, and hotly tipped locals Meursault (pronounces Murr-So) set the wheel in motion this week.
Happy birthday to Sleazy’s, here’s to another Twenty!