Gig Review: Machine Gun Kelly @ SWG3

Credit: Rebecca Nisbet

Max Kelly
Deputy Culture Editor – Travel

Our Travel Editor Max Kelly delves into the immersive world of Hotel Diablo as he reviews Machine Gun Kelly’s SWG3 gig.

Fresh from his energetic performance at the Reading Festival, Machine Gun Kelly headed north of the border for his second visit to Scotland’s second city: “This is only my second time here, let’s fucking make sure it’s worth it”. To be fully honest, I am not the biggest fan of MGK – in as much as I wasn’t very aware of his music. However, one thing which is for certain is that I appreciate his style and versatility a lot more now. He is an entertainer hoping to create the most effervescent atmosphere for his fans, and SWG3 on Stobcross Road was perhaps the perfect venue for achieving this. The location was fitting for the theme of Hotel Diablo – a fictitious, darker world created by MGK which is key to the formation of his most recent eponymous album. The versatility of SWG3 – which offers artists studios, photography studios and dynamic indoor and outdoor markets – gave a feeling of symmetry and balance.

Hotel Diablo, is the Houston native’s fourth studio album after the success of Lace Up, Bloom and Black Flag. The design of the stage and the large screens which displayed lyrics and artwork from the album, helped build the ambience and helped give the fictitious world authenticity and genuineness. The most impressive part of Kelly and his entourages performance was their versatility. The contrasting tempo, vibe and beats of each new song such as the contrast in the intro Sex Drive and El Diablo, then later Death in my Pocket and Roulette made the whole experience consistently changeable but consciously engaging. 

The 29 year old consistently kept the crowd engaged and entertained. There is no doubt that it seemed a little bit over the top, but that is necessary for an artist who is just a bit over the top. Kelly recently – and perhaps surprisingly – played the role of Motley Crue’s drummer Tommy Lee in their Netflix biopic The Dirt; his performance may have been questioned but his transition and dedication to the role displayed his versatility. The set was broken up by interludes of guitars, drums and skits performed by both MGK and his entourage.

The whole show went off without a hitch. Even if there was a problem it probably would’ve merged aptly into the crazy world of Hotel Diablo


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