Live Reviews

  Fyre & Reign, Nyko Morgan, Caitlin McKenna, John Mackay and Doug Gibson live at Kitty O'Sheas in Glasgow

So who is the man with the saxophone? I’ve been to Kitty O’Sheas before but I never noticed that they had a man with a saxophone. Or maybe they didn’t as you need a fair degree of imagination to run your own meth lab. Not that I do, of course, but a well known side effect of Guinness deprivation is a lapse into fantasy.

More than likely real, however, was Doug Gibson. He had a fondness for songs about breakups and, although that is a well known side effect of having an acoustic guitar, he had his sense of humour to see him through the dark times. He also deserved credit for describing one of his ditties a homoerotic cowboy song. You don’t often hear that said in Glasgow.

Similarly grounded in the reality only found in the heart was Nyko Morgan. Her voice was more than enough to reinvigorate even the most hungover soul and the resulting effect could even be described as transatlantic, especially given her choice of cover songs.

Strutting his own stuff was John Mackay. Normally a banjo is the cue for a sharp exit but the rewards of systematic abuse were more than evident throughout his set as that most overrated of stringed instruments was subjected to effects pedals and a particularly inspired assault with a bow. Now that’s original and I don’t get to say that too often these days.

Some might regard Caitlin McKenna as the very model of conventionality in the ever popular realm of the singer songwriter but she, as a matter of fact, sparkled with her desire to throw the emotion of her songs out into the room and balance that with a respectable amount of dexterity just so those with an appreciation of technical matters would also be happy. It is as it is and she was.

Fyre & Reign were not from these parts – they are, in fact, from Utah in the good old US of A – yet their journey seemed less that of many miles than one to spread the word that their songs of self-discovery were more than their practised presentation might suggest. Their words were worthy of deeper consideration and that makes it all the more surprising that so few have heard of them.

Guinness deprivation will get you in the end and it duly did. Or Miranda Lambert did. Either way it was something bad.

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