Live Reviews

  Angelique Kidjo, Future Trad Collective live at The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow

Another Friday night in dear damp Glasgow and another Celtic Connections gig. This time, it was in the Old Fruitmarket and it featured Angelique Kidjo and the Future Trad Collective.

The Future Trad Collective were four good men and strong with undeniable skills on their instruments and some interesting ideas on fusing rhythms from the east and the west. Unfortunately, they also had a laptop along with them to provide loops and it sounded like it was controlling everything, rendering the result little more than mechanical musical doodling. Add the lack of interaction with the audience and I have to admit to being surprised that they got the applause they did.

To the main event, however. Angelique Kidjo took to the stage and set about getting the notoriously intransigent Glasgow audience to move their feet. Now, the Old Fruitmarket is a big place so that was no small undertaking. Ms Kidjo was not fazed for a moment though and, backed by the kind of rhythmic intensity and sheer musicianship that you don't see often in these parts, she charmed, cajoled and funked up all the people in that hall.

Perhaps remarkably for someone of her musical stature, Angelique Kidjo didn't place any barriers between herself and her audience. She walked amongst them Vegas style encouraging all and sundry to get dancing and she even invited a bunch of them up on to the stage too. Getting dragged back for two encores was no surprise then but, on reflection, what was most impressive about tonight was the way she made doing what she does seem like it was the most simple and natural thing on the planet. She - and her band - deserved every single second of the tumultuous applause that they got.

As I made my way out to the street, I suddenly remembered another measure of a top quality performance - I had actually forgotten that I had been charged £3.75 for a Guinness in a cheap plastic glass!

Review Date: January 22 2010