Gig review

Absentee / Liam Finn / Jeremy Warmsley (Transgressive Hot Summer Tour)

Glasgow has rarely come close to any weather that approaches being described as a “hot summer” these last few weeks, so perhaps Transgressive had their hopes raised a bit too high with the name of their mini-festival touring the UK. But then again, “a rather dreich, windswept summer tour” wouldn’t attract half as many people as packed out King Tut’s tonight.

Openers, Absentee, would have fitted comfortably into either definition, creating the sort of music tonight that would manage to make both a hot, lazy day pass by so sweetly, yet wouldn’t go amiss on a soundtrack of the bleakest of cold nights.

Lacking the great production of their records, and even going without a drum-kit, their usual pop fare is toned down, allowing the deep, deadpan tone of singer Dan Michaelson to dominate their set. It makes for an intimate showing, yet it’s hard not to wonder just how much more memorable a performance it would have been if only they’d tried to make it as upbeat as their records.

There was no lack of excitement for Liam Finn’s performance however, with Neil’s son showing there’s more to New Zealand than sheep, Russell Crowe and folk comedy duos. Whereas his father has the melodies and sing-alongs to get an audience on his side, the younger Finn goes for all out dramatics and making things louder than is perhaps necessary to get through to this crowd.

Though only he and percussionist EJ shared the stage, Finn’s creative use of live loops, and powerful drumming, manage to create an engulfing noise that Kevin Shields’ would have been proud of.

In contrast, Jeremy Warmsley’s first moments on stage were more subdued. Coming on with just his guitar for company, clad in skinny jeans and with oversized glasses and floppy hair to complete the clichéd indie geek look, many would be forgiven for thinking this was going to be some trite Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly affair.

All such preconceptions drift away however as soon as Warmsley starts to sing, with his glorious voice turning admirable tunes into something special in the way you’d expect of such raw talent. His band soon join him and help Warmsley almost match Finn in the rocking stakes. But it’s his voice that stars tonight, and will hopefully allow Warmsley the future success that usually alludes such talent.