Live Reviews

  John Deery, Bellingham & Robinson and the Strawberries live at MacSorleys in Glasgow

So there you are sitting in a Glasgow pub musing on the meaning of life. Everybody does it or at least they should when they have had a shandy or two. Then Jesus walks into the bar. Slight of build, with the short beard and long hair that we have come to expect, he places his rucksack silently in the corner and sits down. He looks round the room, never speaking. Obviously looking for something or someone, his eyes have the emptiness of someone who has spent a long time looking for something that can never be found. Bluesbunny does the decent thing and buys Jesus a Guinness. He has probably come here for the music anyway.

John Deery is on the stage singing his first song of the evening "Slip Away". He is from Ireland and like so many of his compatriots he seems to have kissed the blarney stone. Looking right at home on the stage, he does the whole singer songwriter thing very well. "Control Yourself" has a drifting dreamlike quality that harks back to proper Celtic folk music. Our urban existence may affect the context but the feelings behind it are timeless. "Stars" is more upbeat and has commercial - in a good way - qualities. Sung with style and with a catchy chorus, this was the Bluesbunny favourite of the night. Two thumbs up for Mr Deery.

Next up are Bellingham & Robinson. They remark that they are not in the first flush of youth. Their lyrics certainly include a degree of cynicism that you would not get from younger men. Bellingham does most of the vocals and handles that with poise. Songs like "Not the Same" and "For Granted" manage to sound familiar and new at the same time. It has to be said that the slower songs worked best like "Millie" and particularly "The Alarm" that made us think of Steve Harley in his more sentimental moments. Even microphone problems cannot stop them. Robinson simply steps aside and Bellingham steps right over and continues singing. The show must go on.

Last act of the evening is the Strawberries. Bluesbunny is sure that there should have been four young men on the stage but tonight we have but three. They make up for the shortfall with considerable youthful exuberance. We get a nice slice of angst ridden indie pop with "In Your Kisses". With other songs they head off in the seventies folk rock direction as with "Blown Away". They have that easygoing, feelgood attitude that comes across in their music. As you would expect at this early stage of their musical career, they are not particularly polished - especially in the vocal harmonies - but the potential is there. Definitely diamonds in the rough. Of particular interest throughout is the understated but perfectly judged lead guitar work of one of these fine young gentlemen who apparently goes by the name of Ross "Danger" Hollywood. He does not look that dangerous to the Bluesbunny but then again we are having a drink with Jesus so we don't have anything to fear.

By the way, if anyone knows what happened to the rest of Jesus & the Disciples after the untimely demise of their lead singer then let us know. Maybe we can get their former record company to release a greatest hits collection. In the meantime, we should all be grateful that music is one of the few things that can actually save your soul.

Review Date: July 24 2007