Live Reviews

  Gary Johnstone, Catfish Blues and Steel Valley Saints live at Blackfriars in Glasgow

And on the seventh day, God made the guitar. I know it doesn’t say that in the bible that you might have read but, after all, none of us has seen the first edition. Anyway, since God made the guitar, it is therefore entirely appropriate to make a pilgrimage to the altar of Gary Johnstone for some twelve bar worship.

First on, however, were Steel Valley Saints. There’s a limit to what you can do with two acoustic guitars and a cajon but, when your spirit is as willing as it clearly was with trio, you can make the kind of good natured music that neatly complements their blue collar intentions.

Next up were Catfish Blues who took no chances and delivered a competent set of blues rock originals and covers that had the hallmark of festival friendliness. The somewhat scary woman – possibly an angel given my current penchant for religious metaphors – on my shoulder told me that I don’t have to like everything that I hear. Not entirely sure what she meant by that but, given the choice between deeper meaning and a large donner, I would take the kebab every single time.

Onwards and upwards to Gary Johnstone and, when God made the guitar, he clearly intended Gary Johnstone to play it. Showing a wider focus than you might expect of a local guitar hero, he ran through the songs on his album “Failure Is Not an Option” with what could only be described as joyful enthusiasm with his diversions from the blues rock dogma proving even more rewarding than his twelve bar safety shots. His band, ever supportive, provided the kind of solid platform that allowed him the space to demonstrate his abilities on his, one day to be exalted, guitar and, as if to prove that God hasn’t moved south of the border, a choir of swaying blonde angels appeared to testify to Gary Johnstone’s place in the firmament. Ok, maybe there was only one but you get the point.

I’m a believer. Yes I am.

Review Date: