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Dumb Instrument / Doghouse Roses

Glasgow Glad Cafe (Saturday May 18th 2019)

By • May 30th, 2019 • Category: Gig review

How many BM reviews recently have started with “another great night at The Glad”? Well, this one does as well, because there are so many great gigs and and much other stuff as well, just get down… And with main operator Rachel in the audience, let BM just say well done again for excellent programming and attention to detail, also respect due to Kim and Joe for running such great ship, and tonight’s soundman who got things perfectly right – these behind the scenes things matter a lot and you can see that the artists appreciate it.

First up at this pretty packed show was Doghouse Roses, alt-folk or alt-country, you decide…

This duo of Iona McDonald and Paul Tasker give us sensitive and melodic twin acoustic and electric guitar backing to some transcendental harmonies. They have made three full-length albums with another on the way. The subjects range from alcohol abuse and SAD to lost people, and influences would appear to be Jackie Leven (RIP, mentioned directly onstage), Gillian Welsh and possibly Cowboy Junkies. Iona has a beautiful voice for laments and blues and the harmonising between the two is quite sublime. This genre is not always BM’s cuppa but this won over big time, can’t wait for the new record and more live appearances – they are a class act, make no mistake.

Dumb Instrument have been doing their thing for some time now, and have rightly earned their place in the pantheon stretching through from Ivor Cutler to the Just Joans, of the ironic but actually rather affecting Scottish act. Onstage tonight they are, BM thinks, a seven piece, with various musicians coming up and changing instruments at points. Although the songs are mainly from the new disc there are some oldies as well, from the previous two albums.

The tracks that most took BM’s fancy were ‘Stupid Wee Girl from Elderslie’, and a song which may have been called ‘Jaffa Baws’ (yup – Ed).

Lead singer Tom comes across like Ayrshire’s answer to Gerry Garcia, but with more dark and mordant humour… There are also shades of late lamented Ballboy, and of course St Andrew, with nods to Arab Strap for such lines like “I haven’t yet had my millionth wank” on ‘Reverse The Hearse’.

Back catalogue track ‘Suffering From Scottishness’ is such a summation of the Scottish cringe that it is already a modern classic and this band are just priceless, with great playing from the backline to the brass to the female vocalists – truly a one-off and national treasures who rounded off such a good night – is this the ultimate Scottish cabaret act?

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