It is truly difficult to do justice to this night, could quite possibly be gig of the year for Betty (said that already about St Vincent, I know).
Firstly, the supports…
RM Hubbert is a mainstay of the Scottish gigs supports, his virtuoso guitar thumping and strumming, merging one number into the next, gave Betty some respite, some reflection time from the Nighmare Before Christmas, well earned and very talented.
Next up were the Jazz Trio of Scotchland (or something), masterminded by Bill Wells, one of the key presences tonight. Apart from one or two moments, this did not work for me – Betty does not see the point of pulling punches and the ill-judged atonal attempts at Xmas carols just did not work, yes I’ve said this already. Mr Wells backed on piano a succession of not very confident, or competent, female singers, and a couple of males (a very nervous looking Norman Blake introduced as a special guest). Carols are all fine and dandy, and Betty likes ‘God Rest You’, ‘Midwinter’ etc, but the rather amateurish renditions were received reverentially by the assembled audience, as one hardcore Strap fan commented to me (and yes folks I do share a bed with her occasionally): “where the fuck are the lewd hecklers when you need them, a quick ‘get your tits oot for the lads’ would clear this one up and we could get on to the main event” might have shortened the agony.
Betty does not have a problem with debutantes but the sickly Xmas elements to these eight or so songs appeared to have no irony whatsover and therefore would have to be scored an absolute Betty zero. I am sorry but BM is the voice of truth.
The main event however is quite a different thing altogether, I don’t actually think I can describe it in blow by blow detail, whoever is reading this (and sometimes doubt if anyone is), you need to get the Wells and Moffat recording, format not important, and you also need to get your arse into one of their gigs. I will just offer a couple of comments:
– Aidan looking good, necked one beer but did not overdo it, funniest moment of evening when he hit his head off the mike, smiled but did not lose a beat, as in middle of crucial song, i.e. very focused on the event and only brief banter, pretty much no hecklers during the set.
– they played the album Everything’s Getting Older (every adult in the land should have one) in pretty much sequenced order, showing the strength of the sequencing in itself, apart from one spoken word drunken Santa number (hilarious). Spoiler alert, album is mix of the poignant and the profane, not easy listening at times but ultimately as close as you’ll get to honesty in pop muzak these days, and hilarity as well.
– Aiden appears to be channelling the spirit of Rabbie Burns, and there can be no higher compliment, Betty salutes you.
– the sound was spot on, Wells is a pro but Aidan’s timing, always faultless, was absolutely perfect, important given his percussion playing was crucial often to the songs. I would comment on the lyrical content but we could be here all night, really.
I’m not 100% happy with this review as it did not describe the band playing the songs, but BM was speechless, and there is no higher accolade than that.
Till next time.