The first thing that anyone would notice about Mull Historical Society is the front man Colin MacIntyre – wild curly hair and that sharp dress sense means he can capture the audience’s attention in seconds. He may have oddly posted tonight’s set list on twitter a few hours before the show, but that didn’t mean there were no surprises left – he wouldn’t be that daft.
Catapulting in to the first song – ‘Thameslink’, with its melodic and monotonous chorus of “Move ahead boy”, it has the audience singing along already. Continuing with the twangy, bass-pop of ’Peculiar’ and a song from their newest album, ‘Don’t You Make Eyes At Me Now’, the band and audience are getting right into the swing of it. Something that is even more noticeable in their live performance is how unique the vocals are – striking and almost off-key at points but it somehow works with the rest of the music.
The highlight of the show was ‘Public Service Announcer’, followed by ‘Instead’, ‘For Bas, The Hague’ and ‘Watching Xanadu‘. Fast-paced guitar, drums and vocals are mimicked by the audience’s reaction – they went wild, singing and dancing along. MacIntyre went a bit mental himself – swaying, twisting and turning on stage whilst belting out the lyrics in his familiar accent. ‘Instead’ was played as a tribute to his father, who had died 13 years previously on the same day. It was a touching addition to the show, and added an even more personal element to the evening than there was already.
Telling the audience how happy they are to be back in King Tut’s, he reveals their next Tut’s show is planned to be four nights performing each of their albums as well as some extra Christmas numbers. He even tries to play one of said unfinished Christmas songs, and with a bit of stopping and starting, he finally spits out a few lines and chords but as he quickly reminds us “it’s totally unfinished, I shouldn‘t even be playing it! I‘ve not told the record company!”. Another highlight was ‘You Can Get Better’ – performed with meaning and energy, almost as if you were getting advice from a friend. The lyric-focused nature of all the songs makes it hard to not involve yourself in them, which makes even more sense when you see how embracing, talkative and friendly MacIntyre himself is. He looks alive on stage, and talks a lot about Scotland and his childhood in Mull, which has obviously heavily influenced his music.
Finishing with a few solo songs from Macintyre including ‘This Is Not My Heart’ and ‘Mull Historical Society’, it slows the tempo somewhat, and brings a more relaxed, folky feeling to end the night. What it so noticeable about him is that he engages the audience and brings so much vibrance and energy to his performance – something that is lacking with many bands out there at the minute. He speaks with sincerity and ease, and looks like he’s genuinely having the best time of his life on the stage in front of you. It’s a breath of fresh air and it’s hard to believe it all happened in a tiny basement in the middle of Glasgow.