Gig review gig reviews (Scottish)

Mull Historical Society

Colin Macintyre might be touring and performing a new album, but I wonder if I’m the only one to notice that his band is actually starting to live up to the name?

There’s quite a lot of history involved in the show tonight.

It’s also very busy, and quite a social event.

Colin’s songs always seemed to be written from a very personal place as a starting point and then take us off on a journey.

The new songs seem to follow that pattern.

Songs of long distance relationships, of having children, and of voices from the past.

One of those voices, as Colin explains, is the voice of his grandfather Angus Macintyre.

“My grandfather was a bank manager on Mull and he used to write poems. Probably when he should have been banking.

“He used to read them out on Radio Scotland down the phone.

“When I was a kid I’d record them.

There was a story in the Oban Herald about Islay cheese being discovered in Italy to have aphrodisiac qualities and he found that incredibly funny so wrote a poem about it.”

The set list tonight does have a lot of new songs but there’s always room for some old Favourites.

They kick off with the eponymous track, while ‘The Final Arrears’ is well received with a crowd sing along, Colin getting them to do an “Un-Scottish” thing and all hold hands for the finale of the song.

“Join all the hands and take a photograph”

‘Watching Xanadu’ was introduced with the story behind the song – living in a bedsit in the west end while hoping/trying to make something happen.

He’d pass Hillhead underground station and notice the homeless people looking through the windows of the TV shop next door watching the movie ‘Xanadu’.

There is something that I’ve neglected to tell you about tonight’s performance.

To the right of the stage there is an unassuming yet effortlessly cool-looking figure with a deep red guitar.

When he plays, magical sounds come out.

It is none other than Mr. Bernard Butler.

He is not just the producer of the new Mulls album but here he is lending his guitar skills to the back catalogue – although in a very much supportive role; never stepping into the limelight but always being a presence.

And it all sounds great – the CCA does have a very clear and crisp sound.

In the previous times that I’ve seen this band I don’t remember there being strings (you can search at the top of the page and prove me wrong if you want).

Here they have Hannah Fisher and Seonaid Aitken on strings and it just gives everything a boost – the songs sound a little more lush and the band has a little more balance.

In all, a great introduction to the new material, and a celebration of the historical.