Gig review gig reviews (Scottish)

Esperi / Steven Kemp / Mark Hogg / Chris Law

With the demise of Transmission (Stirling University’s live music night), Stirling has been crying out for a live music night to fill the void and the solution has come in the form of Bulge’s Friday night gigs at Cape and the host of shows that have taken place in Stirling that have seen the likes of The View, Twin Atlantic and The Xcerts coming to Stirling.

Stirling’s newest live music night, Acoustic Revolutions, brings something a bit different to the table in the form of a composed environment in which music enthusiasts can enjoy the intricacies and personal nature of acoustic music.

Chris Law opened the show on Acoustic Revolutions’ launch night to a hubbub of jarred anticipation in the quaint Café Crema. Where Chris lacked in whistle solos he made up for with charm; the Stirling local did well to warm the crowd with his folky brand of music that had everyone’s feet tapping.

As the venue started to fill up, Mark Hogg came to the stage, brimming with a confidence that assured us we were in for a treat. From the word go, the audience was immersed in Mark’s use of reverb and tangible vocal ability that did well to compliment his one-man-show. Mark’s cover of ‘Be My Baby’ was one of the most memorable songs from his set, a track that Mark has managed to manipulate to his contemporary sound. But perhaps the best from his set was ‘Castles Made of Sand’, a song that shows Chris has a lot of promise and a whole new batch of fans.

Alva local Steven Kemp and his band were the next outfit to make their way to stage. The use of violin in the tracks exemplified the folky aspect of his music and created a new dimension for the songs to embrace. Steven’s vocals were particularly impressive and harmonised well with his guitar work. Steven introduced a cover of ‘Secret Smile’ by saying it’ll be the last time he ever plays it, which is a shame because it was pretty spectacular.

Esperi’s reputation precedes him. Mark Hogg talked of how amazing he was and the assortment of child’s toys at the side of the stage had created a sense of anticipation amongst the patient Stirling crowd.
Chris Lee-Marr, the man behind the moniker, hushed the audience to near-silence when he started his set by standing on a chair in the middle of the room with what looked like a musical box and began to utter the same lyrics over and over until he made his way to the stage to open with ‘Lone Wolf’.
Esperi is a fascinating individual to watch using a whole host of instruments; he even managed to play the glockenspiel with his feet when he was playing guitar and singing (which is quite an impressive feat!)
As the show progressed, Esperi and his band started to show what they could really do. Esperi, would play a segment on an instrument and then loop it, then move on to another instrument. The most impressive part was the range of instruments used, from a drum kit to a plastic tube that produced a note based on how fast you were swinging it.
Esperi left the audience in awe of his talent and versatility as an artist and certainly left us wanting more of this innovative and original outfit.

The first of many Acoustic Revolutions got off to the best possible start with the audience being catered for in every way with a variety of acoustic performers, spanning across genres and styles that worked well together. Stirling has been crying out for a vast range of live music nights that truly represents the flurry of artists that are emerging at the moment, and Acoustic Revolutions looks set to be a fine addition to a growing list of live nights in this fine city.