With Asking Alexandria playing in the "big hall" upstairs, Glenn Hughes performing alongside guitarist Doug Aldrich just five minutes along the road in the Garage and much celebrated Kiss tribute outfit Dressed To Kill strutter-ing their stuff in the Classic Grand just a little further down the street, Glasgow's rock community was certainly spoilt for choice this Friday evening. However there's no doubt the few souls who decided that the smaller ABC2 was to be their destination, will have felt that they got the best of the bunch. Poland's progressive masters RIVERSIDE once again proving why they have such a fearsome live reputation. Sea of Tranquility's Steven Reid braved Glasgow's wet and windy Autumn weather to discover stories of Love, stories of Fear and fanciful tales of Time Machines…
Thanks to a variety of circumstances beyond my control, apologies must go to support acts Lion Shepherd and The Sixxis (the latter who I was very keen to see); both of whom had come and gone from the stage by the time we arrived – although a doors time of 6pm is hardly conducive to a large turn out…
So with Riverside just on stage as we ventured into the largest crowd I've seen in the compact ABC2, the night was already set for an enthusiastic, if rather humid (you could taste the crowd drying out in the heat) evening. With six full albums and numerous EPs to their name this Polish progressive outfit are beginning to have quite a catalogue from which to choose their set. However while all six albums were represented at one point or another, the bulk of the entertainment was made up from the band's two most recent albums, Shrine Of New Generation Slaves and Fear, Love And The Time Machine both having four selections apiece aired. In some eyes that could have been a risk and yet tonight the partisan crowd – containing a fair number of Glasgow's Polish community – lapped up the new songs as conquering heroes of old. "Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened By A Hat?)" got things under way, this newbie already a live beast of some note, before "Feel Like Falling" surged into view. Bassist, singer and songwriter Mariusz Duda has an amazing, mesmerising voice and it's to his credit that it's every bit as assured in the live setting as it is on CD, every gentle nuance, every heart wrenching roar and every captivating long-held note, pitch perfect and utterly believable. Through the more in your face approach of "Hyperactive", from the controversial Anno Domini - Hi Definition album, the energy levels were upped, keyboard player Michat Łapaj truly coming into his own as a conglomeration of pulsating beats rushed forth with enough power to almost knock the crowd clean off their feet.
The Piotrs – Kozieradzki (drums) and Grudziński (guitars) weren't to be outdone however, the former a powerhouse throughout, the latter adding darting stabs and punches to the older classics "Conceiving You" and "02 Panic Room". The latter of the pair a real emotional highlight of the night. Having dispensed with the "vintage" section of the set, the closing five tracks – "The Depth Of Self Delusion", "Saturate Me", "We Got Used To Us", "Disregard Your Fear" and "Escalator Shrine" – all came from the two most recent albums. Together they made a mighty statement which carried the already won over crowd to heady heights, the throng's singing drowning out Duda on more than one occasion. "We Got Used To Us" probably the greatest case in point, Duda visibly taken aback by the volume of the crowd.
With the band heading off stage after just under and hour and half, some thought they might be getting short changed this evening. However with the near twenty minute rendition of "The Same River", from the band's debut album, Out Of Myself, the first of two encores, there was no need to worry on that score. The crowd responded with the loudest ovation of the night, yet even with that, Duda did have to cajole the audience into lifting their phones into the air to light the pitch black stage for closing track "Found (The Unexpected Flaw Of Searching)" – even having to point out one audience member and say "C'Mon, you've been filming the whole show!", to much laughter. However once the crowd complied, the white pinpricks of phone flashes and screens illuminating the stage was hugely effective in setting the night's final scene. As throughout the rest of the set, the band grinned and laughed amongst themselves, so much were the enjoying the night; their final farewells taken to a "danced up" version of their own music, amidst much cheering, clapping, singing and onstage (well earned) bowing. Where's that time machine? I could relive this night over and over and over….