Live Reviews

  Gary McLennan, Emily & Claire, The Last Ones Left and Conor Mason live at MacSorleys in Glasgow

It rains, it doesn't rain. It's like that in Glasgow. Given the weather's indecision, we took an executive decision and took shelter in the cosy confines of MacSorleys. Being philosophers and diplomats, we are of the opinion that most of the world's problems could be solved with the skilled application of beer and some quality music.

Tonight's opening act is Gary McLennan. From memory, he is part of Glasgow's oddball collective You're High Frequency. This time he gives a very straight down the line performance. His dry, laconic delivery suits his choice of covers well (Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash) but he seems uncomfortable with his own material. Not many people would sing a song about being a stalker but he does and his tale of the life of shopkeepers - "Mr Wilson" - is similarly humorous yet simultaneously dark. Maybe nerves got the better of him tonight but his song writing is certainly worthy of further investigation.

Following on is duo Emily & Claire. The Bluesbunny fascination with harmonies is well known. Their songs are commercial especially "Mr Predictable" and you have those voices to contend with. Emily and Claire alternate lead vocals but things really come together when those voices work together. In fact, if Bluesbunny were a cat, "So Fine" would induce purring. Happiness came upon the Bluesbunny like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. As is the custom at these nights, they squeeze in a tasteful cover (Babybird's "You're Gorgeous") before ending an all too short set with the upbeat "Alright Now". Whilst they would no doubt fit in to the "lite" country genre that Nashville produces these days, they still have enough rough edges and charm to make listening to them a pleasurable experience.

People watching is always fun. You might think that you would not see anyone that you might recognise on a Tuesday night in Glasgow. You should never take things for granted though for, lo and behold, who did we spy coming out of the toilet? Glasgow guitar demi-god Dave Arcari, that's who!

The quality just keeps on coming though. The next musical act presented for our delectation is The Last Ones Left. Folk music normally worries the Bluesbunny. Some of it is excellent but most of it is just this side of irritating. It did not take long - about half way through their first song "Last Train", in fact - to realise that this duo were going to fall into the first category. Jo Anthony's vocals capture your attention and a hush falls over the crowd. In fact, a member of the audience evens buys them a drink and that is not a common occurrence. Craig Whitehill's effective and supportive guitar work keeps the music flowing seeming especially comfortable with the more conventional folk stylings of "Farewell to the Gold" and "The Spaces Inbetween". Tasteful but far from mundane, The Last Ones Left impressed the Bluesbunny.

Then something happened. Something that the Bluesbunny has never seen happen before. They ran out of Guinness. Reviewing is a thirsty business and the highly tuned Bluesbunny metabolism is calibrated to function on Guinness. Overcome with despair, we turned to fizzy lager. Our nerves are shot.

Last man on stage tonight is Conor Mason. He might look like any other harmonica and guitar equipped singer songwriter but he has one distinctive voice and he knows his way around a song. "Backing a Lost Cause" shows that he understands the structure and dynamics of good song writing. The audience has thinned out by now which is a shame. Our Mr Mason is a class act and he passed the Bluesbunny test in that we found ourselves humming "Falling Out of Touch" on the way to the kebab shop. Looks can be deceiving after all. He looked ordinary but turned out to be something a bit special. Pity that there were not more people there to appreciate him but that's life.

Still traumatised by the "Guinness Incident", Bluesbunny heads off in search of chicken pakora and a kebab. Lager makes you hungry, after all. Yes, in case you are asking, it is still raining.

Review Date: September 25 2007