Last Night: Ida Maria, Glasvegas at The Loft

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Ida Maria, Glasvegas
The Loft
August 4, 2009

Better than: taking a group of foreign exchange students to the mall.

It took 20 minutes for it to happen, but, finally, here it was: some palpable, legitimate energy about the room at The Loft during Glasvegas' set. It was all coming together--the band's performance, its fairly impressive light show, the crowd's reaction to it all--as frontman James Allan led his Glasgow-based band and the curious crowd through a rousing rendition of the repetitive, but undoubtedly catchy, "Go Square Go," off the band's self-titled 2008 debut album.

To the surprise of even Allan--or so it appeared, as he paced the stage smiling and clapping to the beat--the crowd was taking the lead on the track's vocals, chanting its "Get away, get away, here we fucking go," refrain high above the rooms loud mix.

Suddenly, the clearly worn-from-the-road band's so-so set didn't seem like it was going to be the disappointment it appeared it might be heading toward.

Then, inexplicably, the band vacated the stage, replaced by its guitar, bass and drum techs, who took the band members' places and began tuning their instruments. Talk about a buzzkill.

Because, even though the band would return to the stage just a few mintes later, offering another 15 minutes of performances to the Loft crowd, the band never again approached the peak it had reached with "Go Square Go." 

With the band book-ending its performance with its biggest singles, "Geraldine" and "Daddy's Gone," respectively, the fairweather fans who had come to curiously watch Glasvegas perform seemed mostly lost. And though Allan and his bandmates tried their hardest to emote and posture the crowd's energy levels back up, the audience was more a collection of watchers than active participants. As a result, the the band's every move was being judged and scrutinized, putting a heavy load on the band's shoulders--and one it couldn't quite carry. At least not with drummer Caroline McKay, who uses no cymbals in her kit, keeping a somewhat sloppy beat to the otherwise sheen sound.

Opening act Ida Maria fared considerably better. Though the Norwegian's vocals seemed even more road-strained than Allan's, the husky-voiced Maria charmed the room with her candid, humorous asides to the audience, in which she boasted about her "Viking arms" and invited the audience to come feel them after her set. It helped, of course, that Maria's music is of a more digestible pop variety than Glasvegas' bombast-rock; with set-closers "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" and "Oh My God," Maria had the whole room tapping its feet and dancing along. It also helped that the audience, no doubt attending this show to get a first glimpse at two of the hottest, most critically acclaimed new acts in Europe, seemed as familiar, if not more so, with Maria's material as it was with the headliner's.

As first glances go, the night's offerings from these two new, promising acts were, as a whole, fairly so-so. As these two return to the region in the future, though, they seem likely to be more improved and battle-tested, rather than just battle-worn.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
Of the two acts on the bill, I, as much of the audience appeared, was more familiar with Maria's work than Glasvegas', although eager to take in performances from both acts, as both of these young acts' material is impressive on record.

By The Way: The frontman of a well-known rock act from the region was in attendance at last night's show--also, he said while looking bored during Glasvegas' set, specifically to check out Ida Maria's performance.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.