We’ve been advocates of Paisley artist Lisa Kowalski for ages, being one of the area’s brightest young musicians who has achieved so much already in her short career, yet we hadn’t see her live, so we were looking forward to this.
To begin with, now seeing her in person, we got the whole scope of just what a lovely, astounding voice she truly has, plus she was a fine guitarist, so that’s another skill she has to her name.
She played a couple of tracks off her Free Spirits EP – the homage to her hometown Hearts Of Gold and the hooking title number, which got a couple of folk clapping – as well as other tunes like Such A Feeling, the beautifully written I Do, and a simple sweet piece dedicated to her boyfriend which deservedly got a positive response.
She impressed both ourselves and the respectable audience, and we wish Lisa all the best on her break, but she’s undoubtedly going to come roaring back in better shape than ever before, and that’s a good thing, because people can only go without a genuine talent like her for so long.
James Edwyn first brought himself and his troupe to our attention as part of our single spotlight series, which we are glad of because we ended up liking their stuff. But would that translate onto the stage? Absolutely, and tenfold.
He and the Burrowed Band lit up an enthusiastic energy within the room. James himself, aside from being anti-dry January, had a raw and sturdy voice. As for the rest of the crew, Emma supported with lovely harmonies, Scott was a fluent keyboardist, Ronnie was skilled on the guitar, and the pairing of Ross and Neil drove the fun and catchy rhythms.
Together, they brought to the table a list of highlights such as Into The Night, Pushing Statues and Passing San Ysidro…no Milkshake by Kelis though, much to everybody’s disappointment.
They capped off with the sensational Get Back Up to close out what was a really tight, really awe-inspiring set that excelled in every regard. Hearing this bunch on record is good alone, but in a gig situation, they are on an entirely different, unreal level.
Better yet? We nabbed the last CD copy of High Fences. Yaldi!
Cortne were the only act of the night that we were going into completely blind, so we had no idea what to expect.
Courtney herself naturally led the group, dressed in dazzling attire, and although she seemed to have a slight case of the nerves on stage, it didn’t do much to hamper the fact that she shined with vocals that were sharp and stunning.
Cool, sleek guitar solos were intermixed here and there, both of the acoustic and electric kind, and the beats were smooth and steady, and this remained consistent throughout all the tunes; Not Alice was especially terrific.
On the whole, it was a delightful display that left us happy and was a satisfying introduction to a band that we will certainly keep a close eye on, because there’s potential there to be uncovered.
And finally to finish off was Katee Kross & The Amberjax, who have firmly established themselves as prominent figures in the Scottish country scene, cemented by their most recent album. We had a wee chat with Katee beforehand, and she hoped that they would live up to our expectations, but we had faith that this would be a guarantee anyway.
Count To 10 was the ideal choice to open with, as it immediately ignited a spark of excitement in the venue that grabbed everybody in the near vicinity, and from there they would play lively and energetic tracks including Coming Home, Shadow Falls and Body & Soul, in addition to beautiful slower numbers such as Bluebird and Dancing With My Past.
Katee was a natural who had a legitimate star quality about her. She had a brilliant voice, she was confident, quite animated – shaking her hips from side to side in an endless loop – and just oozed this bubbly passion that rubbed off on us.
She couldn’t have asked for a better spurring partner in Tommy, who was a talented vocalist in his own right. Ross the cowboy was an excellent guitarist, Mark was great on the bass, and newcomer Lyle smashed it on the kit.
The audience adored them, greeting them with raucous ovations for every song, one after the other without fail, and they instantly chanted for an encore at the end, where we got to see Mick Hargan with his dancing shoes on strutting his stuff.
This was a tremendous, fervent performance that was close to flawless, having shined on all fronts and confirming without a doubt that the entourage are indeed one of the quintessential acts of the genre in Scotland, and frankly, they should be bigger by now.
“Strike a pose!” – anonymous attendee