Live Reviews

  Pat Monaghan, Iain McKinnon and Invisible Jim live at Liquid Ship in Glasgow

It is windy and wet outside. BluesBunny seeks solace in the Liquid Ship on Glasgow's Great Western Road. Tonight there is a Free Candy Session night downstairs. In case you don't know what a Free Candy session is, then we shall enlighten you. It is your opportunity to see a fine selection of free music and the perfect reason to go out mid week. Formed by musicians, it is well worth a visit. Different musicians every time too. Make it a regular outing and you are bound to find someone you like.

Pat Monaghan on stage

First to the microphone is Pat Monaghan. Quiet and unassuming, he is a capable songwriter and a rather fine interpreter of other people's work. Witness his affecting version of "Georgia on My Mind". Delivered almost as a love song, you can feel sadness and loss in his performance. His own songs show his political and ecological concerns. Some old, drunk guys wander in (it is Glasgow, after all), sit down and enquire if he does requests. Our brave troubadour informs him that he is not a jukebox. He tries out a couple of new songs. We especially liked the one called - hope we got the title right - "Ghosts". Ending on a cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song", it is clear that we are not dealing with the performer of fluffy pop songs. BluesBunny wonders if we have perhaps found the lost poet of the disenchanted.

Iain McKinnon on stage

The next contestant is Iain McKinnon. He is a dapper chap in an old man's cap. Apparently a much travelled man, he tells us that his adventures abroad inspired many of his songs. Curiously, many of his songs tell us of his homesickness. It seems to the BluesBunny that this is a man seeking the happiness that we all seek. The happiness that can only be found of home. It is only a matter of finding out where your home actually is. As for the performance, he has the cold and he claims to be still taking guitar lessons. Nevertheless, he plays with confidence. Songs like "Steam Train Beauty" and "Free" stand out and get themselves added to the "humming-to-yourself-whilst -walking-down-the-street" playlist. He reminds us of Chicago songwriter Scottish McMillan though without the aggression. Perhaps his message is that freedom is all in the mind.

Invisible Jim on stage

The last performer is Invisible Jim. We are disappointed that he is not actually invisible. Like all the acts, he is lit by candlelight so he could well have hidden in the shadows and we would be none the wiser. He is joined by Dochan MacMillan of the Scuffers who brings a tasty slide guitar (and later mandolin and banjo) to the table. Altogether bluesier than the other performers of the evening, he is also more accomplished and confident. He also does a few covers and as you would expect from a Glaswegian includes one by Rod Stewart from "when he was not a fanny". Invisible Jim has a lonesome dove of a voice that works particularly well with country flavoured material and he clearly regards his music to be the soundtrack to his life. Maybe it could be the soundtrack to yours as well.

It is nearly closing time. BluesBunny finishes his beer. Time to brave the elements once more. So referee, what was the score? We reckon Iain McKinnon just won on points. Close run thing though.

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