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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Tommy Reilly/Tragic O'Hara/Little Fire/Chloe Simpson - Su Casa - 28/07/12 (Ayr)

Is this the winds of change happening?
Two gigs in Ayrshire last night that I know of, and both sold out.
In Kilmarnock the newly reformed Ideals played to a packed Bakers, and according to all early reports it was in colloquial terms a 'belter'.
Meanwhile in Ayr Tommy Reilly stormed Su Casa with some able support from Tragic O'Hara, Little Fire and Chloe Simpson.

While it's sad that in both cases people were being turned away at the doors of the venues, it's also something that I am quietly pleased about as for once the audiences were pulling their weight and making the effort to sample what is on offer from the many talented people we have playing for us around this area.
Speaking of talented people that neatly brings me to Chloe Simpson who was opening the night in Su Casa.
This was the second time that I have seen her play and it was a very different performances than the previous one.
Last time there seemed to be a pop angle to how she was promoting her songs. Akin to someone like Kate Nash. Yet on this outing it's a more modern folkish take on the same material.
Even now in the cold light of the morning after the night before I'm not sure what one I prefer as both are equally as entertaining.
It's not an issue though, as at eighteen years old Chloe has plenty of time to experiment with her own material, and very obviously has the talent to take it in whatever direction she wants.
There's no doubt that it's going to be interesting keeping tabs on how she is getting on.
While a great deal of precocious talent has graced Su Casa it would be fair to say that along with other young women - like Megan Blyth and Anna Sweeney - that Chloe is up there leading the pack.

Following on from Chloe was Little Fire who was playing his second gig after being involved in an accident that left him out of commission for a while.
I'm not sure if he was just enthused at being back playing, or felt that he had some ground to catch up on, but this was a muscular performance with him attacking his material with renewed relish.
Everyone is still waiting with anticipation for the release of his debut album, and performances like this are raising the bar on what to expect.
Yet personally I feel quietly confident that he will deliver on all that is promised.
There's a warmth to his material that's an attraction, it brings people in, even when it is being lustily pushed forth into a crowd as it was here.
It's that spark of a connection that is the sign of a performer having something special, some attribute that not all artists have regardless of their virtuosity, and that something special can't even really be quantified, but Little Fire has it and he proves it every time that he picks up a guitar and sings.

It feels like a long time since I last seen Tragic O'Hara play, and that's probably because it is.
So this was a welcomed opportunity to reacquaint myself with his oeuvre.
I'm not sure if this was a case of absence making the heart grow fonder, but it was as if I was hearing him with fresh ears, and what I was hearing could be described as a master-class in how to entertain.
Solid songs, unbridled talent and an easy, but humorous rapport with the audience made this a real stand out performance.
Along with his own material he threw in his take on the Cypress Hill track 'Hits from a bong that features a nice segue into 'Son of a Preacher Man' while accompanying himself with the aid of a loop pedal.
It all seems so effortless, but of course it isn't of course.
Big surprise for me was the de-constructed 'Jump On' that features a higher pitched vocal performance.
The reworking of it manages to mould it into a whole new song that exists separately from the original recording. Both of them excellent.
In fact lets just say that this was pretty much a faultless performance, and it was one that I thought Tommy Reilly would have a problem following.

Fortunately the night didn't end on an anti-climax and Tommy - who seems to be the shyest most self effacing man in music - delivered a fantastic performance of material old and new.
It's the new songs that really shone though. That's not to take anything away from the older material, but it seems glaringly obvious that Tommy has went from being a very good songwriter to a great one.
Take 'Six Billion People' as an example. It's quite possibly a world wide hit in the waiting.
It's a song that sounds like an acoustic take on a late seventies power pop classic that's bolstered with a chorus that could very easily be transferred to the terraces and roared back at him like an anthem.
Absolutely stunningly good.
Then there 'Shut My Eyes'. A song that if there's any justice should jettison him firmly front and centre of the wider public's consciousness.
I pledged for the forthcoming album that these songs will feature on and while I've heard both from seeing him play before, and revisited them a few times on the excellent Tenementtv, it's only now that I'm feeling that the day the CD lands on my doormat can't come soon enough.
He deservedly left to an enthusiastically baying crowd who wanted more, and while that was the end of the set in Su Casa he will be back in the line ups for both Prestfest and Live@Troon.
Right now it seems that Ayrshire can't get enough of Tommy and based on this performance it's very obvious why.


  1. Nice write up.
    Never heard of Tommy Reilly but I will chance that now.
    Lovely footage.
    Tucson Az USA

  2. Thank you Lisa. It's good to hear of people getting introduced to new artists through the blog.
    Makes it all worthwhile.