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The Just Joans / Pocket Knife / Peter Johnson

Glasgow The Flying Duck (Saturday February 2020)

By • Feb 8th, 2020 • Category: Gig review

Now we are into February and people have been paid after that long and horrible month of January, BM is in the mood for a bit of indie-pop…

This was an Independent Venue Week gig in the always friendly Flying Duck, a good watering hole at the top of Renfield St where the alternatives are pretty nasty and overpriced… It was only afterwards that BM learnt of the death of Gang of Four’s Andy Gill, a sore loss, taken too early, and one of BM’s all-time pop heroes…

First up was acoustic troubadour Peter Johnson, who BM had previously seen at The Doublet last year, where again he snuck in as a last minute sub for another cancelled act. He played a similar rousing but eccentric set, starting off with Abba cover ‘Super Trouper’, followed by 4 or 5 of his own originals. The songs are by turns moving but also hilarious – he must surely get better gigs than just filling in for cancellations, ‘Bogside Sunset’ is surely worth the price of admission alone, plus other animal-referencing songs…

The second support act Pocket Knife are a singularly eccentric act, the male/female duo appearing tonight in matching long dresses. Michael plays bass and takes the backing tracks from his mobile phone while Louise sings and sometimes plays keyboards. Their songs include ‘Fish’ song, about fish magazines and being held like a fish, while ‘Custard Cream’ may be about biscuits. There is at least one song in French and some fairly fruity lyrics in a couple of the songs – more play to them, and hopefully more releases on Olive Grove during 2020….

The Just Joans are a Motherwell phenomenon, appearing as a five piece tonight – you can check the lineup online but the main thing is that they rock, in an Indie-esque stylee, recalling Ballboy and early B&S but actually live (BM is gonnae say this) far better than both of these acts live.

The recent album ‘Private Memoirs and Confessions…’ is their best work yet, and of the 15 songs played tonight, around half of them are from this. They don’t find time to play lead track ‘Hey Ho, Let’s Not Go’ so it is testament to the other songs in the set that they left it out. ‘Holiday’ was magnificent, maybe the highlight of the set, aspiration vs desperation…

‘Wee Guys’ is a classic take on Scotland’s knife-crime problems, set to an excellent instrumental backing, while older tracks like ‘Friday Nights Down the Union’ speak of failed ambitions, something we can all relate to. The crowd in this wee place got increasingly boisterous, and so they should have, BM was grooving as well but these high heels were a pure bitch.

Encore ‘What Do We Do Now?’ is an older song, but piled full of nostalgia and regret, Kappa tracksuits and Buckfast, of course…

The Just Joans owned this venue tonight and BM hopes they will do more live dates in 2020, they can do no wrong…

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