Link to home page

Malcolm Middleton / Withered Hand

Glasgow St Lukes (Wednesday 28th Movember 2018)

By • Nov 30th, 2018 • Category: gig reviews

Aptly, this pre-festive show was (ahem) a cracker!

Withered Hand started things off, just with a guitar and a cold, with some choice cuts from his wonderful 2014 album ‘New Gods’ – some new songs would be good but this sufficed in the meantime…

Middleton then started with a couple of acoustic solo tracks including the classic ‘Burst Noel’, very pre-Chrismassy, and ‘Bored in Aisnter’, very good indeed.

With the addition of excellent musicians on piano, drums and double bass plus the long-suffering but very talented Jenny Reeve on backing vocals, Malcolm then moved into full band mode (still on acoustic guitar). The warmth and catch of these songs, mainly about clinical depression (haha only joking!) and how it affects a worldview (BM professional help is available) is moving in the extreme. Oh and St Lukes was all seated tonight, like a theatre, which initially BM did not like but it grew on her, more attention to the music and no chatting at the back (apart from Aidan and Hubby who propped up the bar at the back). So we were treated to a lot of new material including single from the ‘Bananas’ album, ‘Man Up Man Down’.

There were also some cuts from MM’s deep back catalogue (7 albums) including ‘Devastation’ from ‘Waxing Gibbous’ (a dark and deadly melody), several from the first album, and welcome tracks from ‘Into The Woods’ and ‘Brighter Beat’ – he strapped on the electric around this point and BM (and the rest) tend to forget that MM is one of the best fucking guitarists in this neck of the woods, or any other.

So new material mixed with old and my God the new material is really good and stands up against anything he has previously done. A solitary track from the last album, ‘Like John Lennon Said’ was also fantastic (although he has moved away from the previous more electronic setup).

Some of the best tracks from the new album were reserved to last, and as he bantered with the audience (he borrowed his acoustic from Jenny, via North Lanarkshire Council!). ‘Buzz Lightyear Helmet’ was an epic with massive guitar licks to boot… and ‘Stay Close, Sit Tight’ was magisterial, self-analysis writ large, and such respect for the honesty which is an inspiration to so many people.

Closer ‘The King of Bring’ is another gloves-off confessional, so while we may not get ‘We’re All Going To Die’, what we did get was the best of MM, warts and all – and one of the gigs of the year.

Comments are closed.