Live Reviews

  Jim Byrne & The Blackwoods live at The Criterion Café in Glasgow

This should have been straightforward. A mere half time refuelling stop, as it were, for chips and a Mars bar but this is Glasgow and I am in the Val D'Oro. The fish fryer – a chunky, jovial chap – is telling me how a journalist (and one of impeccable moral standards at that) had managed to blame the limited lifespan of the east end community on black pudding suppers when two tourists sitting at one of the Formica tables started looking nervous (guess what they had just had for dinner?). As the fish fryer regaled them with the tale of how it was his black pudding suppers that had done the deed and they were, in effect, in the presence of a serial killer, they upped and ran.  I haven't laughed so much in ages.

Anyway, it was time to keep Partick weird (and there's a slogan that desperately needs rethought…) with a visit to the Criterion Café to see Jim Byrne & The Blackwoods doing something akin, I think, to a debut gig. Jim Byrne is a classy guy with a well practised line in mellow fruitfulness so dragging in some extra bodies was likely to move him from the horizontal with even the ultra laconic "It's Raining Outside" gaining some reflected menace. Talking about class, he even generously handed the lead vocals over to a scene stealing Elaine Fleming for a couple of quality tunes. In the end though, it's all about the song and Jim Byrne is wise enough to know that.

I thought it was all over but it wasn't for I then made the acquaintance of the Zoey Van Goey fan club. Both of them. Very charming they were too.

By the way, there's one thing worse than burning in hell for all eternity and that is sitting on a wet seat on a late night 62 bus. Sometimes you have to wonder about God's sense of humour.

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