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Beth Orton / Blue Rose Code

Wednesday February 2nd (Celtic Connections @ 
Glasgow O2 ABC)

By • Feb 8th, 2018 • Category: gig reviews

It’s been a few years since I last saw Blue Rose Code. 
That was as a solo artist in a support slot in the Tron Theatre.
They’ve grown quite a lot since then in every way and brought out a surprising amount of material in that time.

In some of the moments between songs frontman Ross Wilson talked about experiences with the band and talked about having a daughter and the effect it had on his life. 
They’ve definitely grown but musically everything is still on the same path but on a bigger scale and with better production.

The makeup of the band looks like they should be a jazz band, they even had Scottish trumpeter Tommy Steele join them adding a really cool and sleazy film noir muted trumpet sound.
 That added to the keys, double bass and sax already on the stage.

 I really loved the way that he’d address the audience, singing things like “I’ll never be cool I’ll never be good looking but Glasgow know that I am grateful”


I think they gained a lot of friends on this night and it’s great to see band grow, gain more confidence in their work build a bigger stage presence and even better when they come across as genuinely humble and deserving. 

Next time I see them they’ll be headliners.

It’s been a couple of years since Beth Orton’s last album Kidsticks came out.
 That album has quite a lot of electronic influences for her various collaborations over the years.

Tonight she was playing a fair few of those songs and some from her retrospective back catalogue but they weren’t as you’ve heard them before.
 Playing as a duo along with guitarist Grey McMurray, these were the songs stripped back and played in a more intimate and raw fashion -sometimes singing solo with gentle guitar accompaniment and other times both on guitars.

The lights were very low and moody for the whole show, occasionally making use of the ABC’s biggest glitter ball in the world ever – if it still has that claim to fame. 

The low key setting of the songs actually shows off some range in Beth’s vocals. Sometimes her voice is commanding, sometimes it’s fragile and vulnerable. Everything always had a brooding feeling and tension to it.

Most of the set was quite quiet, with only a handful of songs being more outwardly rocky and they came pretty much at the end.
 Which bring me to the problem with this gig


During Blue Rose Code, Ross commented that it was the quietest ABC audience he’d ever experienced but it is a shame they didn’t extend the same courtesy to the second set of the night. 
In truth Beth was great but the thing that will stick in my memory is a large part of the rear of the room talking. 
Maybe you only notice this during quieter moments but there was so many folk at this gig talking really loudly all the way through.
 Why would you buy a ticket for a gig to not bother listening to the gig?

You always see folk complaining about punters taking photos or videos at a gig, it’s a million times less intrusive and annoying than this. At least folk filming something invariably keep their mouth shut while they’re doing it.

 Good performance, interesting set up but kind of tarnished for me.

Created with flickr slideshow.

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