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Broken Chanter / Jill Lorean

Saturday January 25th 2019 (Glasgow Glad Cafe)

By • Feb 3rd, 2019 • Category: Gig review

This was a belter of a night – and on BM’s doorstep as well…

Jill Delorean (who also plays a big part in Broken Chanter) opened this sold-out Celtic Connections show at the mighty Glad Cafe, a beacon of good taste on the Southside of Glasgow.

It is wonderful for its booking policy, food and general good vibes. Having seen Jill at the 2018 Xmas Baubles show in Edinburgh Summerhall (which was very good indeed), it was even better tonight when she added a drummer and bass player – her high register voice and unusual guitar riffs reminded BM a wee bit of Kate Le Bon (no higher praise), but the entire was highly original and BM cannae wait for some releases because this is explosive stuff…

Broken Chanter (and BM believes there was some other names considered, Knackered Glockenspiel being at least one…) is the solo project of David MacGregor from the amazing Kid Canaveral, and he has assembled a veritable Scottish supergroup here. With MacG on guitar/bass/vocals we also are treated to Gav Prentice (of the great Ultras) on guitar/bass/backing vocals, the incredible Audrey Tait on drums and Jill Delorean on various things but mainly keyboards.

So the album will be release on the inestimable Olive Grove records in September this year, but for now we have the live set. Opener ‘Wholesale’ is driving, referencing Scottish Highland history – “highways become motorways” – but also personal issues: “You lose sight”… this is fucking sublime, shiver up the spine territory, with a motorik/80s synth backing which is something like Capercaillie vs New Order (apologies to both!) but BM is struggling to pigeonhole this because it cannae be done…so respect due, and that is just after one track!

So that first track was a calling card, but there was far more revelations to come, on this sweaty, crowded night…

Second tune ‘Should We Be Dancing’ is euphoric and delicate at the same time, with some fiddle from Jill but some blustering guitar from David… ‘Cheering In The Distance’ is again upbeat, and BM thinks there are some very Ultras-esque guitar lines in there as well; Gav has definitely influenced some of this stuff…

And next up was ‘Don’t Move to Denmark’, on the surface quite witty but very catchy (a possible single?) – but this is a vast song, MacG’s voice immense tonight (he has survived the Strepsils months without forming an addiction!)… this is a masterpiece of relationship writing, and BM has no further praise than that…

We also had a couple of Kid Canaveral songs – the stomping and righteous ‘First We Take Dumbarton’ and one of the highlights of album no 2 ‘A Compromise’ – this track especially just blasting through the crowd, a tale of young hearts and having your hand on the wrong waist… awkward but heartfelt, a reminder of David’s supreme observational songwriting: “You’re not stupid and I’m not subtle” – BM is overwhelmed!

Then we go into the Gaelic song ‘Mionagadanan’, featuring Kim Carnie, which is a unique and heartwarming affair – it is often hard to integrate the traditional singing with the modern but this was a real stab at it tonight, and all respect due to Kim for weathering the onslaught of the full band and continuing to sing – God this was good, and if/when properly mixed on the record it will be a real highlight. There are some stories behind this track which can be told when the album is released (take that is as a request for a Q&A with BM when the record is released).

‘Occupy My Hours’ and ‘Beside Ourselves’ were just fine, grand pop music, the unit just performing really well – these could also be big hits, in the right circs, and BM will do all she can to big them up.

Last song played was ‘Free Psalm’ and it satisfied the eager crowd, another possible Gav-initiated riff – it was intimate, a love song of sorts, about regeneration – “dust yourself down and and start again”… We have all been there…and this song could become a real anthem, Broken Chanter are already forging their own mythology, in a good way… BM left this gig feeling inspired and on top of the world, two act who deserve to shine in 2019 and well beyond…

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