So as the story goes, Oasis bullied their way onto a set at King Tuts on 31st of May 1993. If you’ve heard this story once, you’ve heard it a million times. Whether the story unfurled in the manner that the band claims or there was more forward planning than band and label would care to admit, it’s good rock n roll mythology. It’s not as if Oasis wouldn’t have made it without this gig, even if it wasn’t Creation Records, another label would have signed them and the songs on the first album would still have been recorded. Things would have undoubtedly have been different but the Glasgow gig wasn’t an all or nothing shot in the career of the group.
1993 was a big year for the band but 1994 was a whole lot bigger and it went a long way in cementing the popularity of the band in the city. The group played in the Tramway in the south side on the 7th of April. This was part of the Sound City festival and the band was supporting The Boo Radleys. BBC1 Radio 1 was covering the gig so if you were unable to make it, there was still a chance to check the act out.
Annoyingly, there is a live track from this set on the forthcoming 3CD rerelease package but the gig is billed as having taken place at a venue called the Tramshed. Laughably, in a recent article about the re-release, the Daily Record also referenced the gig at the Tramshed! Nice to see that them employing people who know about Scottish music and venues as opposed to people who just regurgitate what is on a press release. Oh wait…
There were two Cathouse gigs in June (taking place in the former Brown Street venue as opposed to the current Cathouse in Union Street) and then the final day in July saw the group play on the Sunday of the first ever T in the Park at Strathclyde Park. Yeah, that’s not in Glasgow but we’ve been quick enough to steal Teenage Fanclub and Mogwai at times so we’ll leave that here for now.
The end of the year saw Oasis play twice at the Barrowland Ballroom (okay, you can call it one and a half times thanks to Liam walking off stage with throat problems during the first gig), so all in all, Oasis appeared in Glasgow 5 times in their big breakthrough year of 1994.
Outside of Manchester and London, Glasgow was one of the big cities that Oasis would have to conquer on their way to the top. Given the city’s reputation as a music loving destination, they were always going to appear around these parts but there is no doubt that Oasis had a sound that was going to go down well. The first album material was powerful, loud and while the material may not have been as universally anthemic as the material that would follow on their second album, there were still more than enough moments that would ignite a live audience.
The fact that the band played at the Cathouse in June (not long after they had played in the city supporting The Boo Radleys) indicated that there was a notable demand for the group in Glasgow. One the same June tour, the only other city they played in twice was London, and that was only because one of the two performances was at the Creation Records Undrugged night as opposed to being their own set. King Tuts may have been a pivotal venue with respect to Oasis signing their record deal but there is no doubt that the band were developing a strong fanbase in Glasgow.
Oasis, 1994 and Definitely Maybe are the focus of a new book by Andy Reilly. The book looks at the situation in the UK that created a platform where Noel Gallagher’s songs connected with so many people and the changing nature of life that helped to put Oasis at the forefront of British culture. It’s not as though Oasis were the catalyst for the changing face of Britain in the mid 90s, but they were in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the situation that was unfolding, including the rise of laddism. The book also reviews the songs, the live performances at the time (with particular focus on a few of the Scottish shows of 1994) and the media of the time.
The following is a brief excerpt from the book, focusing on the band playing at the world famous Glasgow venue, the Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom.