Barrowland Ballroom

Barrowland Ballroom

The Barrowlands (more properly The Barrowland Ballroom) is a major dance hall and concert venue in Glasgow, Scotland.

The original building opened in 1934 in a mercantile area east of Glasgow's city centre. The "Barras" street market (more properly Glasgow Barrowland market), after which the area and the ballroom are named, continues until the present day. The Barrowland building includes large street-level halls used for the weekend markets, with a sizeable weatherproof hall above. The front of the building is decorated with a distinctive animated neon sign.

The Ballroom was the leading dancehall in Scotland from its inception. The serial killer Bible John is believed to have met his victims at dances in the Barrowlands. The building was largely destroyed by fire in 1958, leading to a complete rebuild. The rebuilt ballroom opened on Christmas Eve 1960.

Latterly, with the decline of dancehall and the rise of rock/pop performance, the Ballroom has become a major concert venue. Known for its excellent acoustics (a design imperative for the unamplified orchestras which formerly graced its stage), as well as its sprung dance floor, the Barrowlands has become a particular favourite of many noted rock/pop acts. Although its modest capacity (around 1,900 people) is small compared with several other Scottish venues (the SECC, Ingliston, and various stadia) the Barrowlands punches above its weight in attracting top-name performers, and was recently voted the best music venue in the UK in a poll of British bands, and in another survey amongst bands, was voted second best venue in the world. Simple Minds filmed the video for their 1983 hit single, Waterfront at Barrowlands. [] .

Noted acts that have played at The Barrowlands include the Foo Fighters, R.E.M., Alice in Chains, Oasis, The Cure, The Smiths, AFI, Green Day, U2, Rage Against The Machine, Blur, Bob Dylan, Björk, David Bowie, Counting Crows, Iggy Pop, Stiff Little Fingers, Metallica, Blondie, The Ramones, INXS, Bloc Party, Justin Timberlake, Garbage, Sheryl Crow, Britney Spears, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Rancid, Elvis Costello, Megadeth, Carter USM, Arctic Monkeys, Babyshambles, In Flames and The Zutons.

The Barrowlands has also proven to be a popular venue with successful homegrown talent, including Primal Scream, Travis, Mogwai, Biffy Clyro, Franz Ferdinand, Runrig, Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Horse McDonald, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Love and Money, Deacon Blue, Del Amitri, Teenage Fanclub, Simple Minds, Big Country, The View, Idlewild and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

In keeping with its location in the East End of Glasgow, the 'Barras' also plays host to various Irish rebel bands throughout the year. Bands such as Charlie and the Bhoys, Soap Dhodgers, Shebeen, Éire Óg and others play the venue. This often leads to confrontation, with a large police presence the norm following such concerts.

Ocean Colour Scene played 5 consecutive sold out nights in 2001. They currently still hold the record.

Barrowlands has also been listed by many major artists as one of the best small gig venues in the world. Metallica said that the venue, because of its size and nature made it the best gig they had ever played after their performance there in 1996. In her song "Barrowland Ballroom", Amy Macdonald sings that “nothing beats the feeling of the high Barrowland ceiling”.

External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Photographs of the Barras]
* [ Charlie and the Bhoys Website - Videos of the Barrowlands]

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