An unusual addition to the Glasgow Jazz Festival programme, Alabaster dePlume was performing in Glasgow’s intimate Hug and Pint to a packed crowd unsure of what to expect. With strong support from Kevin P Gilday and the Glasgow Cross as well as Heir of the Cursed, he had much to prove up there on that small stage, but as with most performances I think it’s safe to say that he pulled this off. And it was precisely that, a performance, as it is not just the music that makes an Alabaster deplume gig, it is the spoken word, the gesticulation, the word emphasis and the constant reminder that we are all doing fine.
First up on this Wednesday night was Kevin P Gilday and the Glasgow Cross, who as a band fused elements of hip hop and improvised jazz, with a strong emphasis from Kevin on the Scottish accent. At times we were subjected to spoken word over an industrial soundscape, a metaphor for city living perhaps, and at others are open to lyrics such “sex is commodity…tipping the velvet, old age pensioner gets cream in her pie”, and so there is contention and provocation to this set, apt in the warm up to Alabaster.
An overwhelmingly packed out gig, Kevin performed a rather long set for the support including the insulting, “You’re probably a Tory.” Utilising keyboard and spoken word it does sit somewhere near the unexpected for a Glasgow Jazz Festival gig and the diverse crowd proves that, once again, Glasgow it is at the progressive end of the scale when it comes to programming.
Heir of the Cursed was suitably powerful, impactful, with just a tad too much reverb, singing about such things as insomnia. Incorporating lyrics like “I tried to sleep, devil birds I see” her music is a lullaby for those that cannot nod off, dulcet, stunning, beautiful, soulful and affecting, as she stunned the crowd in Glasgow’s Hug and Pint. A delicately dark touch to a great line up of music.
And this was all before the headliner, who was his usual encouraging self, despite the measures of formidable and perverse that are also mixed in with his set. Mercurial jazz, lyrical and astounding with his performance, it is evident that his movements and words are well considered before delivered, a thinking performer with contention, but just that ‘right’ amount of contention, there is much to keep this man on the radar for.