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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Imagineers/The Limoncellos/Julia Doogan/Alan Frew - Su Casa - 15/11/12 (Ayr)

I'm not sure if it's a case of absence making the heart grow fonder, but it was nice to be back in Su Casa again.
The light, warmth, and smells of coffee and cake emanating from the venue were akin to a positive siren song that was guiding us from the cold and dark evening outside to the safe haven inside.
So who were we to decline the offer.
Once seated it wasn't long before Alan Frew opened up the evening with a short, but exquisite set.
I haven't seen Alan perform recently, and while I have always been impressed with his material, voice and musical ability, it seemed to be that there was another little touch of magic this time out.
Something that you can't really put your finger on.
It's possible that his recent short tour of the north of Scotland has revitalized him, but whatever it is I'm sure most would agree that this was a set that displayed Alan's many talents in a very flattering light.
With some new material that he has been working on with Mark Rafferty on the horizon it is certainly looking like the future is full of promise.

Unfortunately any bonhomie that Alan had woven into the room was swept away with what could have been the most unsatisfying performance I have ever seen in Su Casa.
Julia Doogan, while technically singing well, looked as if she would rather be anywhere else other than with us.
If there was an award for heavy sighs and the dramatic rolling of eyes to convey a degree of disgust then this was a gold medal performance.
Any talent that Julia has was vastly over shadowed with the poor attitude that was on display.
For all intents and purposes it felt as if the audience had arrived just in time to miss an argument, but had to sit through the uncomfortable aftermath that's heavy with the fallout.
This was also the second time that I have seen her perform a without a set list, and it seem obvious that having one would have allowed the performance to flow far better than it did.
Without it we were left having to squirm as she half spoke to herself about what she should play next.
It was an awkward appearance and one that I wouldn't like to see again.
When this happens you sometimes have to ask yourself if your own lack of enthusiasm is misplaced, unbalanced and even unfair, but as the night progressed others commented similarly so make of that what you will.

Following on from Julia were local band The Limoncellos who were making their debut in Su Casa
It was a performance that they would probably rather forget as one technical issue led to another and another, but their set was nowhere near as bad as they may think it was.
I would personally rather see a band that can bring a bit of passion to a performance, even if they are stumbling through difficulties, than a note perfect but sterile one.
There was plenty to get your teeth into as they stumbled through their set, and that's a good thing.
If a band can maintain the attention of an audience even when things aren't going well then consider what the reaction would be if they nailed it.
In among a few original they placed a couple of covers that displayed a range of influences.
First was some Springsteen and then the leftfield choice of Radiohead.
Both appeared to polarize the audiences opinion of the band, but once again I could argue that this is a good thing.
At times a band should challenge those they are there to entertain and that's certainly what The Limoncellos did.
Hopefully we will be hearing more from this band in the near future as there's something there. 
Maybe a spark that could be lead to something rather special.

The Imagineers, who finished the night, are still knocking it out of the park for me.
With each performance they incrementally get better and there's no sign of them slowing down or dropping the ball.
The semi acoustic style suits them and they effortlessly ran through all the what can now be called fans favourites as well as slipping in some rousing renditions of both Shackles and Albert Einstein that both appear on their latest ep.
That they aren't gracing the charts and playing here, there and everywhere, across the globe is a mystery to me.
Few would disagree that they are an act that tick all the boxes.
They write excellent songs that are designed to get everyone to clap, stomp their feet and sing along to, their level of musicianship is beyond reproach, and damn, they even look good.
Record label executives should be in the car park bare knuckling it out over who gets to sign them up.
When I think about some of the bands that have had bidding wars surrounding signing them it just seems ludicrous that The Imagineers aren't one of them.
Give it a month or two to see what happens though as the new ep is once again what we in Scotland would commonly refer to as 'a belter'.
I have high hopes for these guys and I'm not looking to change my mind any time soon.
Tomorrow better belong to the Imagineers. 

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