Monday, April 08, 2013

Despondent Diamonds Disbonded,

There’s always a reason not to do something. I had been given the task of driving the length of the city twice and the thought of venturing back into it was an obstacle. The weather was an obstacle, I was already chilled to my tired bones – my neighbour was hungry and chose to flame-grill her meal with smoke alarm accompaniment at 2 am. In a recent episode, I left my Euros Childs ticket unused, and this was my driver, I didn’t want it to become habit so I wrapped my scarf around my neck and drove across to take part in Fence Records Night starring James Yorkston, The Pictish Trail and Seamus Fogarty.

My role in the evening was to sit at the back and wonder why my table didn’t have a candle like all the others. I felt positively left out, and, if someone had forewarned me, I’d have brought one from home, I still have all that bargain ex-Valentine’s Day stock to burn. Even better still, for the benefit of health and safety, I could’ve taken the candle from the lad on the adjacent table; he was desperate to torch anything.

The bonus of discovering someone unexpected is always welcome, and when the artists are capable of giving something unique just to those who are there on the night, live music becomes special and exclusive. I was already a fan of The Pictish Trail and James Yorkston, so it is unsurprising that my highlight was hearing Seamus Fogarty for the first time.

I was a late comer to the James Yorkston club, arriving only during The Year of the Leopard. His voice has a rich sincerity which always brings his stories alive and his ingenious guitar work provides a sense of real-time. Playing songs such as Tortoise Regrets Hare and Steady as She Goes, James was as accomplished as ever and moved everyone, especially with his tribute to late bass player and friend, Doogie Paul. James’ reading from his new book, a tour diary, added humour to his third of the night; voices from Johnny Pictish and Seamus added a Mr McScotty quality to the reading.

I was astounded by Seamus Fogarty, he’s creates quite an atmosphere with just his acoustic guitar. For instance, The Wind is so sparse lyrically and in notes, but yet it is so deep and wistful. Songs like HealsOver Head and Train to Mexico really command attention and I’m glad to have discovered his talents.

The Pictish Trail is responsible for one of my favourite songs, I Don’t Know Where to Begin, and his backing vocals were overlooked amongst much of the acclaim King Creosote rightfully received a few years back. Of course, now he is much more than Fence Records Man, he has two proper albums of his own and he was part of Silver Columns. Tonight, he played a mix from across the range, from a Lone Pigeon cover, Columns, The Handstand Crowd to All I Own. The participation from the audience on Not To Be was as lame as would be expected from an audience in this neck of the woods.

As a whole, the night was great. More Trail would have meant less Yorkston and Fogarty, and so on and so forth, and that’s not really desirable, I guess a fine and fair balance was struck and everyone went home happy, especially the man who got a free ticket for winning a joke competition, the entry reads: How does Buddy Holly like his eggs? The answer is: he likes them 54 years ago when he was still alive. I’m not sure that I really have to deliver my diatribe about jokes.


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