So I'm looking at the walls of the Victoria Hotel in Largs. Besides the posters you would expect - food served 12 - 8, 6 days a week - there are ones advertising gigs from such musical luminaries such Martin Simpson, Baz Warne, Martin Stephenson and Warner E Hodges. All playing a hotel in Largs? Makes you wonder about Glasgow's "vibrant" music scene…Still, tonight is a night for guitar lovers as Peter Price, Jon Gomm and the Paul Rose Band are bending strings in the just and worthy cause of entertaining you.
Peter Price was on first. He looked an unassuming chap but he had a shiny resonator guitar - which is always a good sign -and it's didn't take long before you worked out that he knew how to use it. Taking in ragtime and country blues and even a swap to a conventional acoustic guitar, he showed a technical proficiency that others can merely aspire to.
Then there was Jon Gomm. He was actually the reason for this little trip down to the seaside as, to use a cliché, his reputation had preceded him. Did he disappoint? Hell, no! With just an acoustic guitar so bruised and abused that it should have had its own a social worker, Jon Gomm showed a remarkable degree of style, dexterity and imagination. He could make his instrument sound like anything he wanted it to - from percussion to rock god electric guitar - and used it effectively to illustrate his dryly humorous songs. Making a comparison to Stanley Jordan came to mind but Jon Gomm is no mere copy. He's got his own remarkably fluent and individual style and he writes his own material so put tracking him and his album "Don't Panic" down in your diary for next week and prepare to be impressed.
Headlining tonight was the Paul Rose Band. Paul Rose is from Newcastle and is a man not entirely unfamiliar with the electric guitar. Backed by Ted McKenna (yes, that Ted McKenna) and Zander Greenshields, he pumped out a confident and popular set of blues rock songs taking every opportunity to display his mastery of the fret board. Despite the profusion of guitar pyrotechnics to admire, the highlight of the show was actually Ted McKenna's drum solo. Ever wondered where the phrase " lost in music" came from? I just had to look at the expression on Mr McKenna's face during that solo and I knew. Funny thing was that I had been listening to the SAHB's album "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" in the car on the journey down and there was the very same drummer on stage in front of me. You see why the good ones never ever stop playing. They just can't.
Three Coatbridge boys at the same table in a hotel in Largs on a Saturday night. No fight ensued so the music must have been good and you really should check out Jon Gomm. He's not from Coatbridge, by the way.
Photos courtesy of Alistair Mulhearn