Sneak – Pivo Pivo, Glasgow – Last Thursday of every month

Posted: 31/05/2011 in Local Music
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Logo by Ross Love

This matching of ambition and location is ripe with possibilities. Facebook tells of “a monthly night of live music where the artists commandeer the venue and steer it with gleeful abandon into the sunset/toward some rocks.” What this equates to is the people of Glasgow and outlying areas being afforded the chance to experience up and coming bands in a context that outstretches that of the typical gig.

And the name of this transcendent night of innovation and opportunity? Sneak. This one syllable conjures up all that is immediately exciting about the night, with its connotations of secrecy and concealment from the mainstream. It whispers of an inner circle of people passionate enough to do some digging and make some discoveries and teases with the ever-appealing prospect of being in on something early on.

When trying to ascertain what sets Sneak apart from every other amateur music night in every other music venue in every other city, it makes sense to begin with the venue itself.

Leave Central Station, walk for a minute, descend some stairs and open a door. You’re in a pub, much like any other in the city. Not to worry though! Visit the bar, pay your entry fee (more on this later) and head through to the area partitioned off for use as the music venue. Now that you’ve reached the epicentre, it’s time to take stock of your surroundings.

You’re in a reasonably small rectangular room, with a mixing desk behind you, stage at the far end, open space in the middle and tables lining either side. The venue is dimly lit and the decor black except for a Pivo Pivo mural adorning the wall behind the stage. Painted in an old school tattoo style, complete with nautical star and swallows, this helps ensure that the time spent waiting for the bands is filled with thoughts of pin up girls, rum and sailor-esque debauchery.

The most important elements of the venue’s layout, however, are the stage height of less than a metre and the lack of anything separating it from the standing space. This serves as the first indication that the Sneak vision hinges on the audience’s will to get inolved.

And it works. With the sleazy, grass-roots vibe and layout, it’s difficult to avoid the overwhelming feeling of being in your space. There is the distinct impression that this is the type of venue just itching to lend itself to passionate outbursts of rock ‘n’ roll hedonism; the perfect setting for the right moment when the right band with the right attitude comes along and takes the local music scene by storm.

If all goes according to plan, artists and fans alike will take the advent of Sneak as a call to arms; the monthly opportunity  to forge something a little bit different.

Playing tonight? Well, by all means, dazzle all and sundry with your musical stylings but make sure not to neglect this chance to show off a bit and help create a memorable evening. Invoke the Townshend spirit and smash your guitar! Cause a spectacle! Abandon the stage and get in amongst your audience! Leave them reeling!

If you’re watching tonight, you share this responsibility. Leave the seats for the jackets and head down to the front! Get moving! Create an atmosphere! Make sure you’re heard!

Sneak has been created for the enjoyment of both auidence and performers but the twist lies in the scope that both have been given to facilitate this enjoyment. To put it simply, this will be what those involved make it.

When considering the Sneak ethos, what really stands out is the promise of the artists being allowed to “commandeer the venue.” This is the part where the onus is truly on the bands themselves. These nights do not have to be occasions where the input of those on the bill is limited to a designated stage slot. The freedom to innovate is there for the taking and the performers that are headed for big things are the ones who will understand, and take full advantage of, the wealth of possibilities available to them here.

Also helping to set Sneak apart is the care and effort that has gone into ensuring the occasions have a bit of a hype around them. Of course, there is an eye-catching logo and, yes, each of the events is preceded by relentless postering campaigns across Glasgow, but efforts do not stop there.

From the night’s inception, ‘sneak’ previews (clever, eh?) of each gig have been made available a week in advance. These take the form of videos and are created in partnership with the bands scheduled to perform, thus providing a channel through which the prospective audience are afforded a glimpse of what’s in store. This links back to the concept of creating an experience outwith the realms of the average gig and carries forward the bands’ unrestricted influence upon proceedings.

In addition to this, regular attendees of the nights can get themselves a decidedly suave Sneak button badge which cuts the normal £5 entry down to £3. A nice touch which, as well as being worthy of inclusion in money saving and fashion columns alike, shows an admirable willingness to reward loyalty.

So there you have the Sneak vision: a fitting venue, free creative reign for performers, ample reward for loyalty and people running the show who not only know their stuff but care about going the extra mile to deliver a richer, more involved experience.

All the elements are in place for this to be the start of something. Now it’s up to the music lovers of Glasgow to build their own scene around it.

Sneak on Facebook

The Sneak previews

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