Tag Archives: Celtic Connections

Justin Currie, ABC1 January 21st (act #04)

I started tonight off in The Station Bar with Big Chris and his Wee Bro, Nick, then hurtled West to the ABC to liaise with the Designated Driver.

Justin and I go way back, almost thirty years back, to when I actually went along to Café Warzika, four Mondays on the trot, in order to qualify for a free Del Amitri single. In those days they, Del Amitri that is, used to ‘come on stage’ to a tape of ‘I Have A Dream’ (that would be MLK, of course, not ABBA). Since then I’ve seen him many, many times.

Tonight Dr King’s golden tones were missing, replaced by Paul Weller’s ’No Tears to Cry’, and if the truth be known there was something else seriously missing and quite flat about the whole event. Nothing like the majestic austerity of The Fruitmarket gig of 2007.

A reworked ‘Last to Know’ was impressive, however I felt that, during the whole evening, there was a feeling of merely going through the motions. I’m sure JC is so familiar with some of these songs he could sing them in his sleep (and on a couple of occasions tonight, he may well have been for all I know!) It didn’t help me being surrounded by a crowd of singalongs who would be best described as “Desperate Housewives” had it been set in ‘River City’

More recently, regarded as one who generally aspires towards sartorial elegance, Justin, tonight, was quite clearly wearing someone else’s trousers and/or had recently narrowly escaped a house fire!

Nick Clark, a bass colossus as usual, had, rather strangely, decided to come on stage looking like Alfie Moon disguised as Bob Dylan

I felt sorry for  guitarist Stuart Nesbit as he had clearly misread ‘Celtic Connections’ as ‘The World Gurning Championships’. I was also intrigued that he played solos that had little resemblance to, or were even on nodding terms with, the tunes they were imbedded in. On many occasions I enjoy and applaud such mavericks, however this was simply mince! If Alan Hansen played guitar I’m fairly certain it would sound remarkably like this.
Home, James!

Justin in  more rivetting times!

Heathers, ABC1 January 21st (act #03)


Too twee for she ‘n’ me,
they’re billed as a duo but there’s actually three!

Cheikh Lo, Fruitmarket, January 15th 2011,(Act #02)


The Senegalese chappie came on stage bang on time after it had been filled with a variety of drums, timbales and strange percussion instruments. Dressed in robes that were gathered round his waist with what looked like a boxer’s prize belt and wearing locks that any Rasta would be proud of (if pride wasn’t considered a sin of course!) Cheikh set this ensemble off with a rather dashing pair of purple Argyll socks.

Truth be told I found the set disappointing with most of the tunes being overlong, locking into a ‘groove’ that somehow passed me by. Difficult to tell if he was enjoying himself as he wore those impenetrable Electric Miles wraparound shades.
During all of this, a third price for the same drinks round was charged. What does this say about computerised tills?

And now a brief intermission……….

Bored with the interval music, I engage a German couple in polite conversation. They are in their early sixties and they’ve flown over from Stuttgart for the festival. Understandably, they’re quite puzzled/disappointed by what appears to be a very poor crowd in attendance, and I have to agree with them. There can’t be more than three hundred of us in what’s a fairly large room.They reckon that compared with back home, it’s not very well publicised for this style and size of event.

While I slowly realise that the price of the same round (Guinness and a Soda water) keeps changing , Astrid, the German lady bemoans the lack of visible percussion on stage awaiting our Mr.Lo. Indeed at this point only a champagne coloured Premier kit is on display along with some unspectacular keyboards. Gunter (no prizes, for guessing which partner he was) makes reference to the ’Sellic Coanection’. I correct his diction and advise that it’s pronounced with a hard Kay. “Sellic is one of our city’s football teams ,the other major one being Rangers” I then attempt to describe the many idealogical differences between the majority of these teams’ supporters. Gunter listens intently as I espouse my perpetual atheism, and the futility of all organised religions, and then asks me, “So who are the good guys?”.

Feeling this is far too reminiscent of one of those job interviews, the sort where you’re asked what Battalion of Boys Brigade you belonged to, I bridle. “Why,simple, anyone that doesn’t drop bombs on Clydebank is a ‘good guy’ as far as I’m concerned!” Fortunately, Gunter laughs off my ‘Meester Fawlty’ moment and we then revert to more suitable small talk  – such as the fact that Astrid only lets him drink lager, as his favourite tipple Guinness also gives him terrible, Germanic, wind.

Neither had heard of Amon Duul II or the Choir Organ!