Foolishly lingering over a pint in the Whisky Bar upstairs, I walked in half-way through the first song, thereby missing the rapturous applause that would have greeted Ms Hersh as she walked on stage. One of the few from that American college indie scene in the mid-90's who never stopped making records, Kristin Hersh is a genuine legend and the crowd know it. After the angular guitar lines of Throwing Muses and distorted rock-outs of 50ft Wave, here she performs under her own name accompanied by a cello and violin alongside drums, bass and guitar.
I suppose I had expected the gig to be a more sombre affair. A huge fan of Throwing Muses, I was less familiar with her solo output. The track I knew best was the Michael Stipe duet 'Your Ghost', a stripped down song with a simple repetitive guitar refrain and no drums. As I arrived downstairs to find the band rocking out, I was surprised and delighted to find that her new setup had lost none of the energy of Throwing Muses. The string section bowed and bothered away like they were being played by evil pixies, the drums were clattering and Kristin Hersh played like a bastard.
Her voice is a delight throughtout, a soft Texan drawl which could be intensely annoying when spoken by someone else, feels like a warm cuddle from Kristin. She seems at ease throughout the gig, reining in the head wobbling and telling a few anecdotes to the throng. At one point she recalled how her band were unable to 'speak Scottish', as it just sounded like a bunch of disconnected syllables to them, then an audience member shouted something in response and she said 'Yeah, kinda like that!'
A rocked-out version of 'Your Ghost' made all the better for it's lack of Stipiness came towards the end of the set and received a warm reception, especially after the revelation that it was written in Glasgow. Kristin came back out after the end for 2 encores and could easily have gone on all night were it not for the venue's wish to close up. Spoilsports.
So we had to say goodbye to possibly the only woman who could come here and say 'Y'all' without getting a kicking. Hope she comes back again soon, and I'll be down the front this time.
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