The cavernous venue that sits beneath the West Coast Main Line and Central Station welcomes thousands of club revellers, theatre-goers, music fans and artists into its brick vaults every year. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but The Arches spoils prospective visitors with events covering all aspects of the arts.
Over the last two decades, theatre fans have had mackerel spat at them by green-eyed mermaids, watched plays performed in toilets and witnessed a woman borne from a giant onstage womb. Contortionists, choirs, a man popping bread from a toaster strapped to his head - I've seen it all within The Arches walls. If tourists believe Edinburgh to be Scotland's only art-rich cultural hotspot, they are sorely mistaken. They just have to go looking under bridges to find the Glaswegian version.
Clubbers return to The Arches week after week for nights such as Pressure, Death Disco, Inside Out and Colours, checking their weekly woes in with their coats before disappearing into seas of smiling, sweating strangers. Friends embrace each other as pivotal chords strike them with identical feelings of euphoria, excitement and...well, love.
Aliens have invaded The Arches, waged war in its basement and returned to freak Glaswegians out in various interactive terror experiences. ( watch my walk-through of Alien War here... local.stv.tv/glasgow/goi… )
Some of my best evenings, most colourful half-memories and lengthiest cloakroom queue waits in Glasgow happened at The Arches. In the beginning I went to the club nights, in my mid twenties I return more often for performance art and theatre - events such as the phenomenal Behaviour Festival, Surge and the like (with a Pressure every now and again....)
I attended The Arches' 21st birthday celebrations and felt overwhelmed and privileged to be invited, to stand on the periphery of a community of legendary Scottish artists, to be able to say I was - in some tiny way - a part of the behemoth that is The Arches. Even if I just used the space for what its intended for - to love it, to enjoy it, to run riot in it without pretention or worry that someone might be judging me, I feel I've helped it serve its purpose.
Looking through some of the other reviews of The Arches it's clear that many people have their own collections of memories of this venue. It's vast, sprawling through a series of arches under Glasgow's largest railway station - you can hear the trains rumbling overhead from time to time. Its adaptability means gigs are at home here alongside club nights, films, theatre, dance and exhibitions. It's a venue for many of the festivals in the city, throughout the year.
My visit was for a screening, part of the Glasgow Film Festival. The film ('Whatever Gets You Through the Night') showcases a series of intimate performances by Scottish musicians and artists in space up and down the country. The presentation wasn't as slick as you'd find in a multiplex, but which multiplex carries the atmosphere of a brick built railway arch that comfortably seats 20 across and dozens from front to back? After a quick turnaround the stage was set for three live performances from artists in the film - different genres, all perfectly suited to the evening.
The Arches is an iconic venue in a great city.
Had some amazing nights in here.
There's alot going on, but for me it's mainly a good music venue with bangin' club nights!
Been here for Alien Wars as well which was pretty decent, I will confess.
It was one of the principal venues in the Hinterland Festival 2009 and presumably will be the daddy once again this year for good live music.
Always something going on.
Check it out!
Have to admit that my first visit to the Arches was on Saturday there for the Glasgow Whisky Festival (2011) and well, I'm not sure if it was the quality of the venue or the event that blew me away more!
Given that the event was kick bottom, I'd have to say that the venue did add a little to the experience. Above anything the venue most certainly adds something very interesting to the situation. It's unique, engaging and seems to fit this kind of event very well.
A proper assessment fo the facilities etc is kinda hard to be honest. Once you've sampled your 15 whisky, things tend to get a bit blurry. The one thing that stands out though, is the perfect fit this place offered for a day time drink event. It's a cave. No light. Thus no guilt over getting drunk whist the sun is out... Yay!
I've seen a fantastic short film festival here.
More recently however, I've been part of the Alien Wars experience (which Micheal jackson's bodyguards went to when he was in Glasgow once, would you believe!). It was quite an experience, and although it was a little cheesy, it was quite thrilling. I can't tell you more about it, as visitors are sworn to secrecy, but I highly recommend you experience it for yourself!
The Arches has emerged as the strongest multiple arts' venues in the last six months, with a comprehensive programme of alternative performance, night clubs and gigs. It holds festivals of live art at regular intervals, including Arches Live! in September and Behaviour around Easter and has a wide variety of clubbing nights, from the tough four-to-the floor of Inside Out to the artsy Death Disco.
The cafe serves a range of fair priced, almost adventurous dishes, and there are bars dotted around the building. It is becoming the hang out for young artists, with a gallery near the entrance and frequent visits from the celebrities of international alternative theatre.
The gigs do tend to aim for an older audience, with reggae greats alternating with independent minded international artists. The clubs take care of students.
The recent performance by Derevo was a sign that The Arches, under Jackie Wylie, intends to establish itself as the most important venue in Glasgow for live art: the mixture of young, local artists and more well known companies bodes well for this intention. Situated beneath the railway station, and more than living up to its name, the dungeon atmosphere adds to the sense of underground adventure, lending a surreal quality to every performance.
This is a really great day out if being terrified out your wits is your kinda thing.
The tension builds as you are led into the caverns of the arches, where you are greeted by a scientist who assures you that no alien activity is present but alas that all goes horribly wrong. I don't want to give everything away but the alien itself is great albeit terrifying!
I would suggest trying to go here maybe on a weekday if you can as we went on a Sunday and had to wait 45 minutes,(that was the only minus point).Although everyone in our group agreed it was worth the wait.
Apparently The Arches have had to hire more security as gangs of neds were going in and wait for it attacking and trying to kick the aliens head in, only in Glasgae!!!
I was secretly hoping there might have been some game neds for added entertainment but alas there were none.But still a good gig!
Having come to admire the excellent venue that is The Arches, Glasgow, I was recently pleasantly suprised to learn of it's uses as a venue for other, more mental/visual pursuits.It seems it caters to all the senses now. Well done The Arches.
Get ready for the scariest experience of your life. In 1992 Glasgow was the first to experience Alien War. Again in 1999, and now they have brought it back to its home. The Arches. It provides the perfect setting for this ride of your life. You dont need to be a fan of the Alien franchise of movies to enjoy this.
You are led around a maze by a soldier(S.U.B.) who shoots aliens, shouts at you and generally gives you a hard time,All tongue in cheek of course. The maze itself is superb loads of props strange noises, steam. Bangs and thumps. You never know whats around the next corner. As for the Aliens, they genuinely frighten you when they come after you. You never know where the next attack is going to come from. Ive been three times now. They keep changing it and every trip around it is different. Depending on the SUB you get and the folk you go around with. Of all the times ive been around ive been terrified every time. And im built like a six foot four tank.
it there until the end of august 2009. prices are £10 (£8 conc) and £5 for kids. Just a quick thing if your gonna takes kids around it, you need to go before 7.30pm. As n o children are allowed in the arches after 8pm.
The Arches Theatre is great venue to see lesser known dramatic and musical performances. As there aren't that many seats the intimate surroundings add to the ambience. Ticket prices are not too expensive and if you register your details with the booking office you will recieve a regular update booklet advising you of the upcoming performances
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