One month and the thick end of a UK-wide tour since the release of their debut album, ‘Cheaply Bought and Expensively Sold’, Declan Welsh & The Decadent West took to the St Luke’s stage to perform their biggest headline show to date.
With two of the biggest touring acts in the world playing some three miles away at the Hydro in the shape of Liam Gallagher and DMAs, the town of East Kilbride more than held its own at the comparatively modest St Luke’s with all three bands on the bill being a product of the town. Opening were Niche Market who announced themselves to the excitable crowd with aplomb. Next up were the prociouscly talented Spyres, whose debut single Othersidehas garnered immense praise for the indie-rock four-piece. Fauves then followed as the main support and no doubt gained new fans from what they described not a typical audience for the funk-infused indie group.
The scene was set for the band taking to the stage with Declan’s former manager, “Alan Las Vegas” (Paul McCole), at the LUV nightclub talking to the audience about Declan’s cover story to slink off from work to go on tour, a reference to music video released for ‘How Does Your LUV’. ‘Absurd’ was the first song from the album they played;a song that touches upon the difficulties that being a musician can create, although the five-hundred-odd capacity crowd screaming every single back at the band must have been one of the gratifying moments that the band’s years of grafting has earned them.
The high energy set was punctuated with two particularly poignant moments, the first of which was before playing ‘Different Strokes’. Declan told the audience about the time he spent in Palestine two years ago. Over the song’s chord progression he described the time he joined a protest against the building of a settlement wall that cut off Palestinian locals from the land that they had been working for centuries. During the protest, he and others were hit with tear-gas. The story ended with a child coming to Declan’s aide who was all too familiar with the events that made the room fall silent. Whilst emotionally charged, the speech generated a huge response from the audience which made the song all the more moving.
The penultimate song of the set, ‘Times’, was also preceded by Declan addressing the audience, this time about the importance of love, friendship and the coming together with the people important to you, with special mention to his dear friend Gary Watson of The Lapelles who passed away three years ago. Again, the audience connected with every word he spoke and roared in approval at his message.
They finished with the album’s opening track, ‘No Fun’, which gave a set that truly had everything the explosive end it deserved. The gig felt like more than a hometown show for the band, it felt like the culmination of years of hard work. Supported by friends in the crowd and on stage in the form of the support acts, St Luke’s, for that night, became a place where the audience was invited into the band’s world. This wasn’t a mere recital of songs they had written, this was a celebration shared by every single person in the room.