I love the Barrowlands. I mean I really, really bloody love the Barrowlands. It is the one place in Glasgow that truly feels like home; a place where everyone is equal and all there for the same reason. The Barras’ is ingrained in Glasgow’s cultural being and there isn’t many people who would have a bad word to say about it. Like many Glasgow youths it was the start of my musical and cultural journey into adulthood. I’ve been lucky enough to see an array of amazing bands over the years including the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Rancid, Eagles of Death Metal, Biffy……..I could go on.
The building itself opened in 1934 but was destroyed by fire in the late 1950’s leading to a complete rebuild to the building which stands today. Throughout the years the Barrowlands was used as a dance hall where singles would mingle and couples would jitterbug the night away.
Now, we know and love it as a world famous music venue which has a soft spot in all music lovers and performers hearts. Throughout the years bands and performers have included Reef (1997), White Snake (1997), Four Non Blondes (1994), David Bowie (1997), Alanis Morisstte (1996), Ben Folds Five (2002), Pantera (2000), The Pogues (1990), The Clash, Erasure (1986), Example (2014), Fugees (1996), Gomez (2009)………. and even some artists we would prefer to forget about (the Gary Glitters and the Lost Prophets of the world).
It is very difficult to try and explain the atmosphere – it’s not something that you can just bottle up – it is something which NEEDS to be experienced. The smells, sounds and the standard ‘girls’ toilet queue is something which is all part of experience but one I would urge everyone to at least try once.
I have tried to find out who actually designed the 1960’s ballroom but to no avail. If anyone knows who designed the building please do get in touch. What I would point out, the iconic glowing neon sign is not listed, maybe something which needs to be rectified?! Interesting fact though, the original neon sign which graced the side of the Barras’ was in the shape of the man pushing a wheelbarrow and was imported from the USA.
Even if you don’t fancy a gig, I would suggest walking along just see the sign in full glory and at the same time take in Jim Lambie’s The Album Pathway which documents every band who has graced the barrow lands stage from 1983 to 2013. I know from personal experience that this is a lovely way to spend an evening reminiscing the past glory days.
If you would like to find out more about Glasgow’s music hotspots, why not book a tour with Glasgow City Music Tours.