Sold out you say? Since when has that stopped us pushing through, pushing past and reaching for the majestic sounds of new found talent? Never! Dan Lyth opens the night to a packed out Tuts alongside his good friends powering through five of the most mesmerising and hopeful songs this place will have seen in a long time. With his skilled band by his side Dan played a tight set including mucho shakers, Casios, fingerclickin’ stunning backing vocals and energy. The rollercoaster ride of ‘O No He Isn’t, O Yes He Is!’ has to be seen live to fully appreciate the intricate rhythms and melodies but the passion behind it must be felt for miles around. Influence from Sufjan Stevens shine through and if the band keep up this high standard they’ll be sure to follow as successful a career. This is a musician with songs that will grow arms and legs and given the chance will be playing bigger venues near you soon – you can pantomime call me on that all day long, I’ll still stick by it. Finishing his too short set with the beautiful ‘Castles’ the receptive audience have witnessed something very special and are more than warmed up to welcome the understated but equally wonderful Iain Archer.
A truly inspiring start from the first of the Northern Irish contingent, Iain is obviously keen to share tunes from his new album ‘To the Pine Roots’ and gets stuck in feet first with ‘The Acrobat’ – full of captivating visual lyrics which accurately display Mr Archer’s knack for poetry. Following this with personal favourite ‘Songbird’ Archer shows off a vocal so delicate and impassioned that the crowd have no choice but to listen up. And just in time too because it’s not long till he’s made the move from acoustic to electric and we’re treated to ‘Summer Jets’ – a song that only confirms my suspicion that this man lives in a perpetual state of seasons. When he asks “Anything I can get you?” I restrain myself from screaming “Why aren’t you singing ‘When It Kicks In’?!” Altogether grossly underrated, it’s a scandal.
And so to the headliner, the so-called Irish soul troubadour, whatever that means, Foy Vance. An incredible voice that can’t be ignored, a kind and accommodating nature on stage he woos us with his looping, clever backing tracks, even venturing into dangerous territory playing acoustic with a bow. Before you know it the entire audience is turning to complete strangers beside them and asking “Isn’t this amazing?” The more culturally aware are asking “Isn’t this that there ‘Gabriel and the Vagabond’ single that Foy did for the the Greys Anatomy soundtrack?” Singing from the depths of his boots, Foy is as real and authentic a poet and musician as I’ve ever heard and nothing like all those Jason Mraz types that you think I’m talking about. This is the real deal – more of a young Van Morrison. Even a spontaneous cover of ‘You can Leave Your Hat On’ doesn’t discourage the enthusiasm of the Glasgow singalong crowd. By the end of a lengthy and intense set when Iain Archer returns to the stage to accompany Foy, it’s a touching moment of musical delicacy. Exiting the stage in humble fashion Foy leaves the crowd singing “Never let the Spirit die, Lord” repeatedly whilst nipping back to the merchandise area just to clap along to himself and enquire to those around him “Who was that guy, he was great?” Again, criminally ignored by the masses, a treat to those who witnessed it. Amen my Irish brothers, Amen.