Live Reviews

  Chris Rodger, The Lotus Project and Crawford Smith live at Bar Ten in Glasgow

A man walks down the street in a big city. There’s police everywhere with practically every street corner featuring high visibility jackets and doughnuts.  Do police the world over eat doughnuts and if so where do they get them? Ah, the answer! Greggs the baker at Central station is open at night so there’s always an opportunity to purchase doughnuts (and steak bakes). Another mystery solved.

With the deep philosophical moment over, it was time for beer and, to make the beer tax deductible, music.  But where? There’s an acoustic night hosted by Crawford Smith at Bar Ten. That’ll do nicely as the saying goes.

It’s worrying the things that you forget. Today was the anniversary of the passing of Marc Bolan and, although that fact had slipped by me, it had not slipped by Crawford Smith. Duly, he included a T Rex song in the collection of covers that he used to mup the audience. As likeable and ebullient as ever, his sheer enthusiasm for music makes him standout from the masses in Glasgow.

Much darker in tone was Marie Claire (appearing tonight without her band The Lotus Project).  You don’t think of one woman and an electric guitar as a deadly combination – well, I suppose that does depend on the kind of women that you hang about with – but she was a like bullet to the heart. Balancing a clear, almost non corporeal, voice against a reverb laden guitar that seemed directly connected to her soul, she stopped me dead in my tracks.  She certainly wasn’t singing happy songs but this was without doubt an uplifting performance that transcended mere facts like being in Glasgow rather than looking out over the Arizona desert. Hear her and you’ll understand why she confused my metaphors.

Last on was Chris Rodger (appearing tonight without his somewhat elusive band Hercules Mandarin). I’ve said this before and I am now going to say it again. Chris Rodger writes great commercial songs and he knows how to perform them.  You want to know how you can tell quality songs? You play those songs stripped down to their basics and, as if to prove that very point, when he played a couple of Hercules Mandarin songs on his acoustic guitar, all their charm remained.  You just can’t argue with that kind of natural ability.

The day was long and the night turned out to be way too short. 

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