In last weeks gig round up Kim wasn’t backwards at going forward that we quite like Tom McRae around Elba way, therefore, as he was in Glasgow for a couple of rescheduled shows at the ‘birthday boy’ King Tuts, it would have been rude not to battle through the snow to see him.
I have tried to write this review/post for a couple of weeks now. I felt the day after that I was on such a ‘high’ from the gig that it would probably be a mess of oohs and ahs that I delayed it a couple of days but never quite got it right. Indeed, even during the gig I already wanted to come back and see the show all over again the night after, it was such a homely atmosphere, packed into King Tuts with a crowd not afraid to holler out and have banter with Tom. Two weeks on and if someone said to me, Tom McRae is playing Glasgow tonight, I’d be there in a shot. He has a certain charm about him which sucks you in and he performs in such a passionate way that 90 mins pass and you realise your mouth has been wide open catching flies for the most part.
So to the gig…
I’ve become a little slack at catching support acts over the last year but I managed to get in to see Brian Wright and I’m glad I did. I’m not sure how I’d describe his music other than saying it’s what I imagine the southern states of America to sound like. He had a lot of country and blues elements in his music and is well worth having a look at. I picked up his CD, ‘House on Fire, which is a little gem. Maria Sugarcane is a personal favourite track. It didn’t take Brian long to re-appear on stage after finishing his set but this time it was as part of Tom McRae’s band.
The set begun with some tracks from new album ‘The Alphabet of Hurricanes’ and exploded into life with End of The World News from his eponymous Mercury-nominated debut album. A song which drew a hefty sing along from the crowd. An addition to the band which was not unappreciated by McRae who had apologised because his voice sounded sexier than usual. Oral thrush will do that to you apparently. One thing I love about McRae, other than his songwriting, is his deadpan wit and humour. When called out for why he cancelled the last show a dry reply of ‘couldn’t be fucked’, was all that was needed. We all knew he was lying though! The setlist spanned all eras of McRae and other set highlights were the upbeat One Mississippi, Walking To Hawaii (played on just guitar and cello) and Silent Boulevard. Although for me it was ‘Still Love You’ which stole the show. It is a lovely little song which opens the new album played on a ukelele. You could also buy a tea towel with the lyrics on it (see pic above). In fact, full marks on the merch stall. You could arm yourself for the Glasgow weather with a Tom-brella.
McRae is certainly an artist who has been around for a long time and whilst I wouldn’t say his time had gone, I don’t ever see him being as well known as he deserves. However, if he can continue touring and selling out venues with audiences showing as much adoration as they did at King Tuts, it will surely put a smile on even Tom McRae’s face.
Setlist (I think…):
Alphabet of Hurricanes
Me and Stetson
The Summer of John Wayne
The End of the World News
Walking to Hawaii
I Still Love You
The Boy with the Bubblegun