Its a dark, cold and foggy night out, and inside its warm, low key and friendly. Uncle Brendan is somewhere at the back fiddling with sound levels, and the cute new barmaid is serving with a smile.
On stage, the first act, playing guitar with an array of effects pedles and drum + bass machine backing is the cartoonist known as Rob Miller, tonight known as Telemachus. He bares a striking resemblance to the comic book character Elexender Brown. This gig looks like one of his strips, achingly honest, like we can see inside his head, looking out his eyes. When he played the Tchai Ovna a few months back I wasn't convinced, but tonight the man is an artist, every nuance, every reverb and guitar jangle, the slow pace and epic tones, carefully crafted, even the slightly too quiet vocals, supposed to be that way. He seems far away, but the music is so loud, and vaguely dischordant.
The set ends unexpectedly, jarring even, he wouldn't have it any other way.
Nathan Persad is if MJ Hibbett discovered boogie, songs about lifestyle changes cos of new girlfriends, dedicated to Maggie Broon, songs co-written with Adam Plimpton.
Do I mention him in every review? Quite possibly, I ought to cut down on that. But not tonight, he's curated and arranged all this and the Littlest Album 3. Why does he do it? Why do I do it? Banging my head against the cell door like I'm Leland Palmer or something. Why can't I stop? What am I expecting from Glasgow Indie Eyespy, Last Night from Glasgow, manc_ill_kid, The Plimptons, Ivan Lendil Music, The Wolfknuckles, Shag Times, One Big Snog, SchaudenFreude, Somewhere in The Sun, any of this? The futile hope that some girl from far away will look up and remember and pick up the phone, all forgiven? Wouldn't it be easier to pick up the phone or ring the doorbell myself, rather than spraying this across the nation, half-hearted wank if anything. Maybe that's why she's so far away, and I'm left here dreaming of things that never were, aren't and never will be. This will never work out, I'll always be feeling my way through a fog of choking emotions and deluded beliefs. I am Francesco Petrarca with a 407 mile long conveyor belt of Lauras. Under the sunshine can't I just tell her the way I feel? or would that shatter everything?
And why's it always dead sheep?
The room's slowly filling up, forty paying customers at the 1 hour point.
Someone near the bar says (about Nathan) "This sounds like Johnathan Richman"
Looking at the expression on Adam's face, its clear how wrong I am about his motives. Sheer, unadulterated glee.
Nathan's enjoying himself, pwning hecklers, he's a natural entertainer, given the opportunity to entertain and spread a little happiness.
I doubt anyone could sound warmer or fuzzier than Tom Snowball and if I were a girl about whom he'd written a song, my heart would melt. Elements of Americana on the vocals I guess, on reflection sounds like a stripped down Decemberists, deep resonance from the guitar, audience talking loudly.
Once again, its Only Joe Kane, onstage alone with backing mp3s, so its like a whole band. The audience, pre-programmed, holler after each song.
The only act tonight playing with a full band are Murnie, drums, keyboards and guitar. Sounding rather rock tonight, a lilting Dire Straits.
They have an old school music stand for lyrics and sweet noodly keyboards which doesn't quite gel with the harsh guitar.