The Mumford’s might’ve jumped ship already, but the bill at King Tut’s on Wednesday night proved the folk-pop fire is far from extinguished, especially as far as younger ears are concerned. Openers Michael and the Moonshine punched far above their weight, dazzling early comers with their considerable musicianship during rowdy jam passages in which tenor sax and bluesy organ swapped solos over the agile thrum of an upright bass.
A familiarity with the great songwriters of yore was evident in bandleader Michael’s originals but it was the dynamism of the full band sound that really brought the songs to life. With a little more refinement, you could imagine the group sounding something like a Scottish version of Whitney, taking cues from the celtic tradition where the later channel Americana. While lacking the slick professionalism and good manners of the headliners (Michael, for shame, committed the cardinal sin of slagging off the sound person), the Moonshine were the night’s most straightforwardly enjoyable act. They even had the audacity to close on a Dylan cover, It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, and confidently nailed it, providing the evening’s highlight.
Imagine The Script crossed with a ceilidh band and you’ve got a good idea of what The Hur sound like. The Glaswegian six piece took the stage to the boisterous cat calls of a small army of home supporters, suggesting the outfit at the top of the bill were headliners in name only. Despite not having much of a taste for the kind of glossy blockbuster pop the group were angling for, their facility in transposing that formula to suit traditional Scottish instruments was admirable, pairing fiddle and accordion with club-ready kick drum with ease. The hooks – “I want your body on my body” went one – were big and blunt in a way that reflects current chart music and undoubtedly infectious given how well they went down with the young crowd. I imagine bigger things aren’t far off for The Hur.
Cattle & Cane had to be disappointed that the throng had significantly dwindled when their stage time arrived, never mind the fact that a good chunk of the hangers-on chortled heartily through their set. They didn’t show it though. Not a new Finnieston eatery but in fact but a family friendly guitar band from Teeside, Cattle & Cane were gregarious hosts who diligently thanked their loyal supporters and expressed their gratitude at getting to play a venue as historic as King Tut’s.
While their own performance won’t be joining the Tut’s hall of fame, it was smooth and entertaining set, sampling material from their new record Mirrors and a few cuts from their debut. Their sound was middle of the road in a pleasant way, recalling the kind of band music that got mainstream radio exposure towards the end of the Britpop era, though it had a meatier edge live thanks to some powerful drumming. They played up the divergences in their catalogue too; the bluesy twang of The Poacher really stomped in person for instance, while peaks and troughs of Birdsong were accented to great effect. They saved the best to last however, and as much as the chirpy falsetto of new single Fool for You is a jackpot advertising deal waiting to happen, it was cheerful end to the night, it’s jaunty keyboard riff prompting merry dancing down the front. With a strong rendition of 7 Hours to top thing off, it was all smiles when the lights came up.
To find out more on the band’s live dates click here.