Subculture Uncovered

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

Thursday 24th January 2019

Photo: Stuart1000

While people love to pour praise on the independent venues of the South-East of England, and those of the big music cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, it's a sad fact that cities and towns North of the border are often overlooked when it comes to planning the tour schedules of promising bands. As fans often point out, UK tours often seem little more than a revisit of the same English venues.

Thankfully though, at the moment, Scotland still has some potential stages for bands to reach a new audience. Glasgow, in particular, is home to venues such as Barrowland Ballroom and the more recently established King Tut's Wah Wah Hut.

Established in 1990, in what was a pub, King Tut's was the brainchild of Scottish promoter Stuart Clumpas, who wanted a venue that would suit his aim of showcasing new bands in Glasgow. Quickly becoming established as the place to see new bands in Scotland. The timing was perfect for one of King Tut's most referenced gigs, where Alan McGee reportedly discovered a new band called Oasis.

Suede, Pulp, Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers enjoyed landmark early gigs around the same period, putting the venue on the map, as well as establishing their own names.  

With a 300 capacity, King Tut's was perfectly sized for new bands that wouldn't fill or couldn't afford Barrowland. In the late '90s it also became an important venue for comedy and remained a vital hub for Glasgow's scene when it turned ten in 2000. A series of well-received anniversary events and gigs raised funds for the venue to expand into its first floor to create its upstairs bar. 

Through the new decade, Tut's continued to provide the location for a new wave of bands as the indie revival took hold. Idlewild, The Cribs and The White Stripes - all enjoyed notable breakthrough performances on St. Vincent Street. Radio 1 proclaimed Tut's to be the best live venue in the UK for three years in a row. The venue's tally of years and the bands that played at that time are listed on Tut's famous steps, from The Charlatans (1990), to Manic Street Preachers and Blur (1991) to Suede (1992), through to Clean Bandit and Wolf Alice (2014), the venue is sure to run out of steps before it runs out of steam.

The venue's success gave rise to Stuart Clumpas running Scotland's biggest festival, T in the Park. It remains a favoured venue of artists both established and new. James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers is quoted as saying that the venue was not only their first live appearance in Scotland but also the first in their career to give them a hot meal before a gig, while Liam Gallagher chose to return to the venue to film the video for his 2017 song 'Come Back To Me'.

Find out more about King Tut's Wah Wah Hut's upcoming gigs at www.kingtuts.co.uk

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