Monday, 13 February 2012
Su Casa - 9/02/12 (Ayr)
This review is sponsored by Irn Bru and Insomnia.
Mainly (sic) when I head out for a gig I know I'm going to see varying degrees of talent on display.
There's very often the good, the bad and the ugly thrust forth into the spotlight, and more often than not all on the same bill.
It's rare for a night to run smoothly with every act being a delight to listen to.
Even rarer is for every single one of them to manage to bring something different to the experience and enhance the evenings entertainment in its totality.
Yet that was exactly what happened in Su Casa.
This was to be my first experience of seeing lauded local artist Scott Nicol play and I wasn't disappointed.
It would be fair to say his performance effortlessly matches the praise he has received locally and globally.
I'm sure Scot himself wouldn't claim to be reinventing the wheel with his music, but it sounds honestly passionate, and what he does is delivered so well that while others are doing similar he manages to come across as the cream of the crop with his take on what I guess you could call mature acoustic rock music.
An indication of how good Scott is as a performer is how from a cold start he managed to get people singing along to his own material in a very short space of time.
He arrived, made an impression from the off, and then hung onto the attention he had drawn to himself.
Harder that some would think, but it's to his credit that he made it look easy.
I was so impressed that as soon as he finished his short set I approached him and bought a couple of CDs and I wasn't the only one.
Next the very young (It's obligatory to say that) Sam Christinson was to grace Su Casa with his presence, and while I thoroughly enjoyed his previous set many months ago - and his more recent 4 track EP release -,I was surprised at how he had progressed in such a short space of time.
He's far more self assured now, and with that confidence the music has flourished.
The singular new song that he sang is yet another down payment on a promise of things to come.
Definitely a young talent to remember the name of as a singer songwriter of the future..
The co-host and regular performer that is Jamie - Little Fire – McGeechan was next and managed yet again to breath some life into his material.
Each time I see him I find him tinkering with his delivery of his material with no two performances sounding the same.
It's a pleasure to hear the evolution of his songs as they grow towards being recorded..
This year will see him releasing his début album, and at this moment in time I have no clue as to how it is going to sound.
That it's going to be good is - in my opinion - a given, but I wouldn't dare to hazard a guess as to how the songs will finally find form.
It's going to be one of those 'watch this space' situations.
Anna Sweeney followed Jamie and similarly to Sam has taken a huge jump forward in the confidence stakes.
It's a captivating introduction to her as an artist for those who haven't had the pleasure of seeing her before.
Her song writing abilities are well defined and show a level of maturity that is rather astounding for a young woman of such tender years.
This was the first time that I had seen her accompany herself on piano rather than guitar and I'm in a quandary as to what I prefer.
Maybe it will all depend on my mood on the night as both are equally entertaining.
Now I haven't got a problem in saying that Rose Parade are one of my current favourite bands.
I'm an unashamed fan and love how they can create perfect slices of pop music while maintaining a great deal of indie credibility.
Acoustic guitar, single bass drum, banjo, electric guitar and glockenspiel doesn't sound like a marriage made in heaven, but close your eyes and listen and it all makes complete sense.
There short set in Su Casa admirably displayed their talents, and I would be very surprised if they don't manage to draw some wider attention from music fans as this year progresses.
If so, then it will be well deserved, and if not, then I'll be at a loss to understand why.
Similar could be said about Melisa Kelly and the Harmless Thieves.
The word authentic gets bandied about with alarming regularity to describe so many carbon copies of what has come before, but when I hear the word I think of Melisa Kelly.
Previously I'd only ever seen her perform solo, or with Jamie of The Harmless Thieves providing some cajon, but this time it's the full ensemble with bass and keyboards.
The difference is like night and day.
While Melisa's voice soars with minimal accompaniment it's taken to a whole new level when supported by accomplished musicians who know the songs inside and out.
There's a free flowing aspect to how the music is played that only comes from being intimately comfortable as a band.
It sounds organic. From rock and roll to a snippet of some Stevie Wonder it was just pure magic.
I reckon that every time Melisa sings Jools Holland gets a hard on.
He just doesn't know why yet.
Finishing the night was Alan Frew who managed to avoid being upstaged by delving into what must be an encyclopedic knowledge of music and delivering some belting numbers that included the trad song 'Pick a Bale of Cotton' that was more vibrant and rockin' than the Leadbelly version that most would be familiar with.
He left me with the impression that with a guitar there's not a lot he can do.
I've had some great nights in Su Casa, but this is right up there.