There are ways to spend a Monday night. Cleaning your oven comes to mind as does fixing that shelf in the bedroom. A trip to dear old King Tuts wouldn’t normally figure in your plans but tonight there was the double trouble attraction of Dave Arcari – tonight launching his new album “Devil’s Left Hand” - and Lee Patterson. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow.
Let’s consider the wonder of Lee Patterson first. He’s something of an enigma. Affable yet somewhat restrained between songs, he sings like he has the monkey on his back whilst beating the defenceless microphone stand with sticks and tambourine. That very physical performance works every time in keeping the audience’s attention and neatly obscures the humanity and warmth that find a home in the words of his songs. Of course there’s humour too and watching the King Tuts stage manager lady realise what “Whores of Baltimore” was all about was a reward in itself. Anyway, Lee Patterson also writes songs about barmaids and that very honourable course of action marks him out as a gentleman in my book. One thing is certain about Lee Patterson - you can guarantee that the stamp of mediocrity will never ever be found on him.
Time for Dave Arcari to stake his claim on the stage. Not one to be restricted to the perfunctory run through expected of an album launch, Dave fuels up on the whisky – and refuels regularly throughout his set too - before launching into a proper, extended set that showed him to be a genuine entertainer and, while mixing the raw rasp of his voice with a too often unnoticed dexterity on his trusty resonator guitar, he soon transported the audience into Arcari country. Arcari country, fortunately, is an interesting place filled with much more variety than you would expect of a bluesman as you’ll find Robert Burns in there sharing a drink with Johnny Cash whilst Dave howls and growls in all twelve bars. I’ve often been to King Tuts and thought it had a big stage but tonight it seemed barely big enough to contain the critical mass of Glasgow’s blues madman. I’ll raise my glass to that any day of the week.
The rain dances insolently in the street outside. The Scotrail train set gives up the ghost at the sight of more than a few puddles. So, was this Monday night excursion worth the bath on the way home? I reckon it was.