Jack White @ SSE Hydro, Glasgow

The last time Jack White played in Scotland his set at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall was besieged with sound problems, rendering the whole experience a bit of a sham.  There was never any danger of history repeating itself in the custom built Hydro, with the arena’s acoustics providing the ideal setting for Jack White to strut his sonic stuff.

This was an ambitious gig:  the curtains straddled across the top tier suggest that the venue was perhaps a tad too big, but the sound was perfect.  An arena show in name only, with the big screens gone and only minimal blue lighting for effect, it was well-suited for the grand scale of White’s current album, Lazaretto.

The new songs flourished in the big venue:  Would You Fight For My Love? was sublime, Temporary Ground a standout and High Ball Stepper introduced an epic encore.

At 39, Jack White has amassed a catalogue of music that most artists will never produce in a lifetime, giving his setlists a nice air of unpredictability.  There was a perfect cocktail of solo, White Stripes and Raconteurs material, with a blazing Broken Boy Soldier leaving you pining for a reunion with Brendan Benson and a lack of Meg’s drumming allowing Hotel Yorba to blossom.  The only inevitability of the night was that Seven Nation Army would close – and it was an imperious performance which had the floor of the Hydro rocking and twats throwing beer all over the place.

With a band which were well-drilled and happy to ply their trade in the shadows, Jack White was on form here, well and truly dispelling any lingering disappointment from the Edinburgh episode.  There isn’t a better recording artist on the planet than Jack White at the moment, and on nights like last night there can’t be many better live performers, either.

Jack White played:

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
Hypocritical Kiss
Hotel Yorba
Temporary Ground
Missing Pieces
Top Yourself
Broken Boy Soldier
I Fought Piranhas
Love Interruption
We’re Going To Be Friends
Sugar Never Tasted So Good
Would You Fight For My Love
I’m Slowly Turning Into You
[Encore] High Ball Stepper
Steady, As She Goes
Fell In Love With a Girl
Freedom at 21
That Black Bat Licorice
Seven Nation Army

Vampire Weekend @ The Hydro, Glasgow

Going to a Vampire Weekend gig is such a chilled out experience that the pit is almost more of a place one goes to exchange tips on accessorising scarves or corduroy sweaters, rather than being the place to mosh and rock out.

Backed by the phenomenal acoustics in the new Hydro Arena on the Clyde, Vampire Weekend put together a sublime set which demonstrated that – off the back of their excellent third album Modern Vampires of the City – they are a band at the peak of their powers, and the coolest to come out of New York since The Strokes.

The opening trio of tracks walked us backwards through the band’s catalogue, with the infectiously catchy Diane Young, White Sky and Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa whipping the audience into a mild-mannered frenzy.

Every song was greeted rapturously by the enthusiastic Glasgow crowd who had been waiting a few years for a Vampire Weekend fix.  This was a near-perfect performance filled with rhythmic brilliance and a cascade of catchy hooks and a breathless procession of pop hits.  From Unbelievers to the jaunty Holiday and the older material of A-Punk and Oxford Comma, they were all here and superb.