Live Reviews

  Benni Hemm Hemm, The Second Hand Marching Band and Euan McMeekan live at the 13th Note in Glasgow

The theory of alternate universes has always interested me. In such realities, things are pretty much as they are here but there are subtle differences. Differences like practically every male in the room having an unfinished beard. Only this wasn't an alternative reality…

Fortunately, Euan McMeekan (of The Kays Lavelle) had a decently convincing beard and that, no doubt, contributed to his performance. Despite the technical issues that plagued his set, he did the one man with only a piano and his heart thing well. Although reminding me of a depressed Regina Spektor, you can't argue that his set of downbeat melancholia had both grace and charm.

Benni Hemm Hemm is something of an oddball. He does these oblique mini epic songs that are sung mostly in Icelandic but there is something unusually appealing about that very combination. That and the sense of scale he brings to his performance. He never sounds small. In fact, he sounded like he would burst his way out of the basement to bring warmth to the sub zero streets of this no mean city.

Rounding off the evening was the cacophony of the Second Hand Marching band. It's a small stage in the 13th Note and it was truly filled tonight as all sorts of instruments and voices were combined into an anarchic take on the Arcade Fire sound. That's not to say that there weren't delicate moments but the lasting impression of this band was of exuberance.

That's all for tonight. Time once more for some warming chicken pakora because, baby, it's cold outside.

Review Date: January 8 2010