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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Daniel Wylie and Neil Sturgeon - Harbour Arts Centre - 11/04/14 (Irvine)

Stripped down acoustic gigs should be an oasis of calm in many respects.
They should provide the opportunity for the audience to commune with the artist on a different level, a level that is free of any artifice and instead becomes one that simply allows the music to reveal itself in its nascent form.
The material outside the studio should be able to say here I am, this is me bereft of the make up and the glamorous attire that I wore.
This is my stark naked beauty revealed.

And while this is how it should be that doesn't necessarily mean that is what you will get when attending a stripped down show.

You may instead get a boozy trollop sitting on your left discussing very loudly such important issues as whether the platform shoes in New Look are better quality than the ones in Schuh, or a guy on your right who consumed eight pints prior to sitting down and is now squeezing past you every ten minutes to go to the toilet as he informs everyone within earshot that he is sorry but he needs to siphon the python……again.

Thankfully the evening’s entertainment in the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine was more of the former than the latter, and instead of artist and audience mutually struggling through the set it was a sublime pleasure to witness Daniel Wylie steadily, comfortably, and somewhat casually, work through many highlights from his solo career, his time with Cosmic Rough Riders, and a few covers.

Unlike the last show in the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow this outing was far less a homecoming and more akin to seeing Daniel perform a set that was casually put together with him feeling relaxed enough to swap it about, drop songs, add others at a whim, and in general give Neil Sturgeon, who accompanied him, a solid test in keeping up - although it was a test that he past with flying colours as nothing seems to phase the man.

Of course some may be looking to hop aboard the nostalgia train when artists like Daniel perform, but that would be missing the point if all they were wanting to hear was some blasts from their own pasts as success and talent are not mutually exclusive.
Going to see Daniel now highlights that post Cosmic Rough Riders the quality didn't dip, and rather it steadily rose to a point that he can now sit back knowing that there is a fan base out there who put the music rather than fashionable trends first.

So with material from Ramshackle Beauty, and his latest release ‘Fake your own death’, sitting side by side with what for some are the more recognisable songs from his Cosmic Rough Riders period he provided us with a finely balanced set that would please a fan, and highlight to others that he hasn't let the grass grow under his feet since the last time they may have dipped into what he is doing.

On a night that was brimming with highlights, some that are worth mentioning are the covers of Rain by The Beatles, Randy Scouse Git by the Monkees and the now familiar take on REM’s The One I Love, but eclipsing them very slightly was the anecdotal stories that Daniel shares where he reveals how his own songs came about, and in doing so opens himself up to be seen as a music fan at heart.

Currently available is his self released Fake Your Own Death album that can be found here, and very soon there is a limited reissue of Panorama coming out with the first 100 being on blue vinyl. You can keep up to date with that here.

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