MARK SHARP AND THE BICYCLE THIEVES // G2 (VENUE), GLASGOW
Mark Sharp and the Bicycle Thieves took to Glasgow’s G2 venue with all the brute and charm of indie idols and put on a night Pete Doherty would have been proud of.
G2 is a kooky venue. Tucked in right behind its owners, Glasgow’s hugely popular The Garage, a bar, nightclub and gig space. It is arty and alternative. It is a lovely venue to find oneself in - spotting all the brilliantly placed art work and bits of bright décor on the walls. However, it’s not a large room and the depth of the queue for the bar was consistently dire. The place definitely could have improved functioned with an additional staff member of two, though nothing but credit to the staff working that night who all put in a hard graft during the, especially tough for customer service staff, lead up to Christmas.
In 2017, West Lothian-er, Mark Sharp released his indie attack on the country. He had adopted a backing band, The Bicycle Thieves, and from his previous years of dedicated, relentless touring, his impact was now growing in force and a large, loyal fan base was developing. The band continue to progress without the aid of record label backing. Sharp’s live shows have a strong reputation for having brilliant sound and a captivating energy. They have been highly reviewed and tickets sought after. The night’s G2 show sold out fast, in trend with a lot previous shows and, I would bet, most future Scottish dates for the guys.
Sharp and his band all fittingly graced the stage swigging from cans of the Scottish larger Tennants. Sharp frequently tried to egg on his crowd. He encouraged them to let loose and enjoy themselves through slurred shouts into the mike between songs. His status as indie-rock frontman looked complete but as a charmer who connected to his audience, he fell flat. The crowd was very mixed. A lot of young rebels, here to work up a sweat, but there was also a large percentage of older, more mature fans who’d come along to enjoy the night as well. In some ways, maybe due to his comfort performing, Sharp seemed as though his was indie auto-pilot.
The night’s sound was very pleasant though not flawless. Recorded, Sharp’s voice is so soothing, with a tone like honey for the ears. At G2, his beautiful vocals sung out to the room but there were frequent points where they were drowned out by the heavy distortion and volume of the guitars.
Highlighting points for Sharp’s set included his beautiful and touching, which is always a rarity at an indie gig, addition of a snippet of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas.’ The lad’s performance of new single ‘War Paint’ also stood out. This floaty, melodic song was released just a day for the G2 show but received a huge reception from the crowd. It is catchy and memorable and, I predict, soon to be a huge fan favourite. Sharp is known for his live cover of Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy.’ This classic track got the crowd stomping and was performed with all energy and ferociousness it deserved. They also sounded brilliant on tracks with more distinct synth and tracks with softer, slower elements that sounded ballad like.
Mark Sharp and the Bicycle Thieves have many elements of brilliance. They have taste, style, talent and on stage they ooze the vibe of an established indie group. Their style varies and in general they cruise between styles with ease. They are a band for any indie fan with similarities between Mac DeMarco, Future Islands and Lewis Capaldi.