James Vincent McMorrow and his band along with Siobhan Wilson take up residence in Glasgow’s City Halls in another event for Celtic Connections 2014. McMorrow’s new album Post Tropical has been well received and this is the 3rd date of their tour. Promising an all together different sound from his previous release Early In The Morning.
The lights go down and Siobhan Wilson is the support act for James tonight as she promotes her EP Glorified Demons. Tipped as a rising star she has all ready made an earlier appearance in the festival at its Roaming Roots Revue which had people talking as well as an appearance on BBC Introducing. After fixing her mic stand she begins to play her first song of the set The Terrible Woman which has the audience entranced, reminiscent of Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell the latter she cites as an influence Siobhan plays and sings like she is from another time and place. The song ends and she is joined by Tommy Riley after which she finally introduces herself as she swaps her acoustic guitar for an electric, “Were gonna do a song as soon as my guitar comes on”. The electric comes on and her and Tommy compliment each other well on an as of yet untitled track. When it ends the audience applaud and cheer as she thanks them and informs us, “Were now going to play a cover for you, its by Joni Mitchell and its called A Case of You”. Siobhan and Tommy make it their own their version more haunting than Mitchells original which the audience shows their approval. Tommy leaves the stage and Siobhan performs a track from her new EP Laugh and Die followed by a song that she wrote in Inverary called Cowboy Song as a working title and as you can guess has a more country than folk feel to it. Before she plays her last song Siobhan encourages people to come and say hello and to check out her new EP from which the last song is on called All Dressed Up a light, breezy and catchy number about temptation. The crowd go wild and Siobhan Wilson has lived up to the hype.
After a mere 10 minutes the lights go down again and James Vincent McMorrow and his band take to the stage and begin their set with The Lakes from his new album Post Tropical chased up with Here the Noise that Moves So Soft and Low from his debut album. McMorrows voice echoes through Grand Hall demonstrating his voice is his best instrument although beautifully framed and accented by the new instruments included on stage. The song ends and the audience go wild, a clarinet signals the beginning of what becomes Glacier
another new track along with Red Dust. You begin to get the idea of what’s to come in the set and get the impression that James is perhaps trying to shake of his folk roots but soon after these songs we are given a hat trick in the form of Down the Burning Ropes, Follow You Down to The Red Oak Tree and This Old Dark Tree from his first album Early In the Morning just to shake things up. At this point in the set James finally speaks to his audience, “I’m sorry I’ve been very rude, I haven’t even said hello yet. Its great to be back in Glasgow, I was here two years ago I think I played a (Mitchell) library. Anyway sorry”. What could have been mistaken for shyness is revealed as just an eagerness to play music when James begins to have a rapport with the audience. Sharing stories of playing in a Gerry Rafferty tribute when he was here last and how “surreal” it was to play with Jack Bruce. The set goes back to material form his new album the band playing Post Tropical, Look Out and All Points. The set is minimalistic in design with maybe a dozen white triangles of varying size spread amongst the band and a white circle on a black drape all have different lighting effects and projections displayed on them. Essentially giving the impression of the band playing on the Moon which works very well again compliments the music being played adding a theatricality to the evening. James pauses here to remind his audience of the new album that he released only this month and how excited he is about it. We are treated the excellent We Don’t Eat which has people on their feet cheering and whistling ringing out through the hall. James ends his set with tracks Gold and Cavalier after which the band exit the stage to a standing ovation and foot stomping.
Soon enough James comes back to the stage and goes for his acoustic playing for us And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop and later with his band If I Had a Boat. Before his very last song of the band we are introduced to the band Jill, Jay and “the heat and the beat” Paul and also thanks his sound engineer and set designer telling the audience “Its important to thank people and never take this stuff for granted, now lets play some music”. He finishes his encore with the last song from his new album Outside Digging which seems fitting. James played his new album in its entirety and it was phenomenal as well as adding in a decent amount of his older material but if tonight was anything it was James not being pigeon holed as a folk artist. The new material is exceptional live and credit must be given to his band and people behind the scenes. A great night of new music and talent.