Furious, Erin K Hill, Viva Stereo and Iona Marshall live at The Liquid Ship in Glasgow
So, there I am standing at the bar discussing the whole Glasgow Edinburgh divide thing with a respected Glasgow muso. Not the whole soap dodging debate but the matter of quality of musicianship. He proposed that Edinburgh musicians were, on the whole, better players and were more professional in their attitude. Having recently seen the likes of Susanna Macdonald, Lorraine McCauley and Machar Granite, I could see his point.
Then, almost as if to prove the opposite, Furious began his set. He is from Edinburgh but he suffered from the disease - common in Glasgow by the way - of the self obsessed angst ridden singer songwriter with all the usual symptoms like songs about quirky pals and - my personal favourite - the "this song's a bit political" comment. Funny thing was that every song ended with whoops and hollers from the same section of the audience that talked loudly through his set. With friends like that…
Life, as they say, goes on and on it went to something altogether more pleasing with the appearance of Erin K Hill. Her country flavoured songs, by her own admission, tend towards the melancholy but her voice had that kind of fragility that easily conveyed emotion while also managing to portray the dignity that some people use to hide their suffering. To tell the truth, I'm a sucker for that kind of thing but even I know that such an approach is not an easy one to take for a performer. Ms Hill succeeded admirably and I shall look forward to hearing more from her.
Executing a stylistic right turn were Viva Stereo. Or at least half of them anyway as there's normally more than two of them. One guy with a guitar and one guy with what looked like an old and cranky synthesiser treated us to a selection of stripped down songs that sounded like they came from an unholy alliance between the Pastels and Hawkwind. Normally the mere thought of Hawkwind would cause me to spit flames but the mischievous sense of humour that Viva Stereo brought to their performance diverted me from that. They didn't take themselves too seriously and they actually appeared to be enjoying themselves. Altogether rather pleasing, I'd say.
Last on was Iona Marshall. After she sets up her instruments, she takes off her shoes. No, there wasn't a foot fetish contingent in the room as it turned out that she actually operated one of those KT Tunstall style foot pedal things with those feet whilst singing and playing both guitar and keyboards. It sound impressive (and it was) but were the results impressive musically? Actually, they were. Whilst folk flavoured, her use of electronics took her away into the ambient electronica genre. Not the dull stuff that you are probably used to but the genuinely entrancing and emotionally rewarding variety that you only seem to get - until now - in Europe (for example, by the wondrous PNDC from Serbia). You can take it as read that Ms Marshall impressed me. I'm sure that she will impress you too so make the effort to track her down. You won't be disappointed.
August 28, 2009
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