“ANYONE crying yet?” said a surprisingly chirpy-sounding Stuart Nelson three songs into the band’s rollicking last-ever gig at the Ironworks.
But then, it was his birthday – “I'm 17” he jested.
The years have moved on, with fatherhood and busy lives adding pressure on Stuart, brother Kevin – the latest of the band’s three bassists also including Colin Callum – and drummer Kyle Campbell.
But it still came as a shock when news of the final gig arrived a couple of months ago.
Yet you only needed to contrast the way the band looks now and the early videos to realise time has passed since the new boys on the block grew into the He Slept On 57 that might have a future music career.
Former touring mates and friends Energy! became Fatherson whose debut album will be one of the most eagerly-awaited from a young Scottish band next year. Another set of tour companions The LaFontaines have just been signed up by Manchester label, LAB Records.
But in fairness, He Slept On 57 never stopped creatively building on the set of songs and EPs that showcased solid songwriting, tight playing and a never-lost sense that the gigs were played firstly for friends and fans.
Check out the series of videos too and the ambition and imagination you can see in those make it seem more of a pity that the end has come.
But for the last gig, they got the start just right. Clark Bent and all the friends who have supported them through the years were up and at ‘em, singing along for the hook line “finding out the hardest way”.
Watching The World from early EP Turn Your Back On All You Know has that urgent yowl of pain about watching an old love walking past your house with someone new.
Bunch Of Fives from last EP Gates made way for Katy, Bar The Door – again the great video for this one set up in the middle of a straight road – talks about a failed relationship “Nothing in this world ‘s good enough for you”.
But there was another reminder that the band’s songs were always contenders, up there for a wider audience.
“Anyone remember a programme called Hollyoaks?” asked Stuart. “This next song got played on it completely randomly,” he revealed, introducing Another Photo For The Album, the first of a run of four from the impressive A Glow From The Night Light EP from 2010.
The “Woo-oa, oa-oah” chorus was taken up by the fans down the front, constant banter going on between songs.
“The worst thing ever has happened to me,” confessed Stuart. “I’ve spilt my rum!”
But he then thanked everyone for coming along and said it was nice to see so many people there.“It’s our last gig, but let’s be honest, is that what we’re really here for? It’s my birthday!”
Drummer Kyle and brother Kev had to sing happy birthday to him on their own, but the crowd joined in anyway and then birthday cake got chucked about as the band went into Where The Air Is Thin and – after slipping in another new one, A Jealous Guy - Kicking Stones with its pretty echoing opening sequence of chords.
Stuart then confessed it was popular request that had earned the next one its place, he didn’t like it that much – Tearaway, B-side to Childsmile which then came next.
Earlier, Stuart had grinned “I want to see tears!” and this was one of the danger points for me, a song that had always seemed to be about changing times that came with a video that was all about good memories and somehow – even then, long before the band decided to end – nostalgia.
“This is one of the first songs we wrote,” Stuart yelled, Your Faint Memory following – one of the most raucous He Slept anthems and, as it turned out, the last song of the set.
There was an encore, with Stuart revealing: “It’s been five years and we really didn’t plan for this … no, we totally did!” he laughed, enjoying the encore.
He apologised as more people yelled out for older songs and also insisted the boys do the song naked – a chant bulding up.
“Our parents are here!” protested Stuart.So we got a recent number Her Paper Tiger, presumably destined for the album that never was.
The night ended on a high, both musical and in spirits, with a birthday to celebrate and an after-show party to keep the good feelings crowding out any sadness.
But if any band has a past to be proud of, He Slept On 57 are up there.
They seem to have cracked the trick of creating songs, videos, merchandise, live gigs, tours, friends made with other bands - plus a set of loyal fans to be proud of.
Watching back some of the many moments of the band's history captured on YouTube, you watch Stuart unwriting the band’s name, then the title of A Glow From The Nightlight by the magic of film, the footage creeping backwards to leave - temporarily - a blank sheet of paper.
But you can’t unwrite He Slept On 57.And why would anyone want to?