Doors opened at 7am as the damp crowd shuffle in off Sauchiehall Street on another rain laden night in Glasgow to blue ambient lighting and Sitar music. The Diehard fans of Aimee Mann and her support acts Ted Leo and Amelia Curran have locked their spots at the front of the venue with ample elbow room clinging to the rail. The venue Glasgow’s O2 ABC 1 is the main hall complete with disco ball is big enough for the crowd yet intimate enough for the type of music that we will be seeing tonight. Half an hour passes by before our first support act of the evening walks on stage on his lonesome armed only with his electric guitar. The gentleman’s name is Ted Leo of Ted Leo and The Pharmacists fame.
He is straight off the bat with his first song of the evening and although he may be on his own he is full of energy as he blasts through his back catalogue of songs such as ‘Bleeding Pharmacists’, ‘Bottled in Cork’ and a song he claims to be an account of his last visit to Glasgow 15 years ago called ‘A Bottle of Buckie’. Each song has its own energy full of great riffs and has the crowd geared up enough that he is getting random shout outs and requests from the audience which he has to politely turn down because it’s now time for Aimee Mann to join him onstage of course for a song or two. First up is one of Ted’s songs ‘The Gambler’ which Aimee plays Bass on which mellows the mood a little after which she straps on her acoustic and cries “I’m ready to do another”. This song turns out to be ‘I Can’t Help You Anymore’ from her album ‘The Forgotten Arm’ which goes down a storm with Aimee and Ted complementing each other brilliantly. Aimee then quips “See you guys in like, an hour?!”before bouncing offstage to let Ted finish his set for the evening with the song that happened to have been requested earlier by an ardent fan called ‘Timorous Me’ which get him a tremendous round of applause and wolf whistles from a now seemingly packed venue.
Next up was Juno award winning songstress Amelia Curran who arrives on stage a short time later also cutting a solitary figure with her acoustic. The mood to her set is melancholy as she plays new songs such as ‘Blackbird on a Fire’, ‘The Modern Man’, ‘San Andreas Fault’, ‘The Great Escape’ and ballad ‘What Will You Be Building’ from her upcoming album ‘Spectators’, as well as ‘The Mistress’ from her album ‘Hunter Hunter’. Throughout the gig is dead silence which to an outsider could have been misconstrued as an unresponsive audience but the truth of it was she had the audience in the palm of her hand. Aimee would later remark “Ted rocked you but, Amelia folked you”. Before her last song of the set she tells us “I wonder if a sea of people knows it’s a sea of people and that it’s intimidating” which brings on an ovation from the audience as she done a brilliant job of following Ted Leo. The crowd are now primed and ready, roll on Aimee Mann.
Aimee Mann and her band fill the stage and jumps right in with ‘Disappeared’ and ‘Gumby’ from her album ‘Charmer’ which gets the audience fired up. After which she thanks everyone for turning up to see her and especially those who came early to see her with Ted. The night is filled with stories of how songs came about and how she created her set for the evening warning us that there will be a lot of music from the new record then gives us ‘Labrador’ also from her album ‘Charmer’ which gets every head bobbing and toes tapping keeping the atmosphere mellow early on in the set followed by ‘Lost In Space’ which makes good use of the disco ball giving the audience a small light show. Aimee engages the audience again as requests are shouted from every direction and she laughs as she politely explained “I’m using an inner ear monitor so you have to shout louder”. The next song we are told was written by Aimee and her bassist Paul Bryan for Aaron Sorkin of The Social Network and The West Wing fame and brings out Ted Leo to help them on it called ‘Living a Lie’ from her album ‘Charmer’ which is quickly followed by the title track of said album ‘Charmer’ she wasn’t lying when she said that the new material was being aired tonight. Picking her acoustic back up Aimee and the band play ‘That’s Just What You Are’ before introducing us to the rest of her band very quickly following that with ‘Ray’ from her album ‘I’m With Stupid’. The crowd have enjoyed every minute of the show and get quite excited when she begins to play some songs from a soundtrack she made for a film called Magnolia. Her band evacuate the stage as she plays ‘Save Me’ only to slowly come back for ‘Wise Up’ from the same album. As the mood has become more intimate she treats us to our first cover of the evening with ‘One’ originally by Harry Nilsson which brings a more brooding feel to set before giving us ‘Slip and Roll’. A song from her album ‘The Forgotten Arm’ is up next in the form of ‘Goodbye Caroline’ accompanied by ‘It’s Not Safe’ from ‘I’m With Stupid’. Aimee addresses her fans as “Dudes” and thanks everyone for coming half way through ‘It’s Not Safe’ telling them that it’s the end of the show and to have a great night before rocking out at the end and leaving the stage.
This of course is not the end as the crowd claps and shouts for more and before too long Aimee and the band along with Ted Leo and Amelia Curran return and give us a brilliant cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Honesty Is No Excuse’ the reason being it was their second last gig of the tour and they felt like “Fucking around”. Next up is one that was requested earlier ‘4th of July’ taking that rocking feel from before and tempering it slightly before performing their actual finale ‘Deathly’ and wishing everyone a good night. The entire show from the support to the main act was brilliant showcasing every facet of folk based music leaving the audience assured that they watched something very unique. Another great show brought to Scotland by the Celtic Connections Festival.