Warming up a crowd with nothing but a voice and an acoustic guitar is hard work. As far as singer songwriter types go, Beerjacket might still come under the ‘local unknown’ category but he’s got a talent that ought to see him go further. Even when he’s reaching the kind of awesomeness of Jeff Buckley, though, you can sense restlessness in the room.
Brother Louis might have an extra something – she’s called Sarah, she sings backing vocals and plays an array of instruments – but he’s still an acoustic guitar playing singer songwriter, and as the night wears on, everybody’s itching for something to drown out everyone else’s conversations.
Opening with ‘Go Away’, The Guillemots pretty much instantly stun the crowd in to silence. The stage is packed with instruments and they’ve brought their own little two-man brass and wind section, which quickly establishes itself as a great addition to The Guillemots’ live ensemble.
With the crowd about as warmed up as an eskimo, everyone’s faces might be saying ‘wow’ but the rest of their bodies are saying ‘whatever’. Fyfe Dangerfield is up there giving it laldy, and even when they play Made Up Love Song (if there were a sound that perfectly describes the feeling of euphoria, it’s that moment after the first verse when all the instruments kick in), the reception is more polite than rapturous.
Two tunes manage to actually get more than the girl in the red top, the guy with the bouncy head and the blonde scenester-type standing stage right really excited, though. Surprisingly, ‘Annie, Let’s Not Wait’ – an album track we’d never given much thought to – and obviously, ‘Blue Will Still Be Blue’ which sees Fyfe belting out the saddest of love songs with a battery-powered keyboard in his arms and not a microphone in sight. The 51 year old beside me (who earlier revealed that ‘Through The Window Pane’ had knocked a Pink Floyd album out of his Top 5 Albums of All Time) is close to tears.
For their encore – which, following their closing double bill of Trains To Brazil and ‘Sao Paolo’, couldn’t have been in higher demand – The Guillemots give the Scottish crowd a special Scottish treat.
“So if you’re lonely
you know I’m here waiting for you…”
Their take on the Franz Ferdinand hit Take Me Out isn’t the finest, most graceful or most magnificent piece in their set – they did kick it off by inviting their crew on stage to ‘bang things’ – but it’s a nice wee bit of fun.
Sometimes in their set, we wished they’d just hurry up and play some tunes (like during the shouty racket they call She’s Evil) but when they’re good they’re absolutely amazing: they make us want to fall in love, swear to make more of life and have more fun, and to stop listening to any music that has less than five different instruments in it (preferably including one you don’t actually have to touch to play).
We know it’s a fad that will have passed by the morning, but while they’re up on stage, The Guillemots sound like the only band in the world worth listening to, ever. Wow.
(photos: Andrew McKenna)