The first live music experience of the year for me has certainly set the bar high.
On what will go down as a thoroughly miserable night of wild weather - forcing most to seek shelter in their own homes rather than venture out - GR Harrow returned to NHC Music (Glasgow) pulling a healthy crowd along with him, and then within the intimate setting of the record shop played a two hour set of mainly originals that chronologically covered his career to friends old and new.
It was the sort of performance that gets filed away as ‘you had to be there’ as he worked his way through his life from his formative years in Ayrshire to those when he went travelling to other continents, and then bringing us all up to date with his now being a settled family man.
If you could imagine someone opening a worn book of photographs and sharing all the moments with their close friends and family then this was in many ways the aural equivalent.
And even though there was a solid contingent of personal friends attending it is doubtful that those who don’t know GR Harrow would have felt excluded.
I certainly didn’t.
In fact the atmosphere was one of casual welcoming warmth.
Somewhat magical in many way and the credit for that has to go to GR Harrow himself who between songs guided us through the process of writing them and comfortably engaged with everyone in attendance.
In a larger venue there is much of the intimacy of this performance that would probably be lost, or changed to accommodate how he could reach out to people, but it was a testament to how comfortable he was in this sort of environ that he even added some new material that had not been publicly aired to the set to see how it would go.
And how did they go?
Very well actually.
Over the course of his set you can clearly hear his journey as a songwriter and while he certainly wears his influences on his sleeve, and it’s the accomplished song writing of the Finn brothers, REM and Jellyfish that flavours his own material, he has now reached a point that the influences don’t necessarily overshadow his writing, and with some recording sessions in Paris with Ken Stringfellow (Posies/REM/Big Star) at the planning stages he could be on the cusp of not just dipping a toe into the artistic world of his heroes, but instead plunging in to join them.
Only time will tell, but regardless of what the future holds the door of NHC Music will always be open to him and his extended family of fans.