#16 | The Gracious Losers – Celtic Connections 2019

the gracious losers

Leading up to the event, a special secret guest was hyped up, and it turned out to be Mark W Georgsson who, truthfully speaking, we had never actually listened to beforehand, but we’re always eager for new discoveries, and he was a worthwhile one for sure.

The venue instantly quieted down as Mark got started with a set that had the nature of a stripped, acoustic one but done on the electric guitar. On that note, he was a very sophisticated player who was quite adept on his instrument. He was a terrific vocalist as well, being able to convey some genuine raw emotion, plus he was a first-rate whistler too.

He told gripping stories through lyrics that had us and everyone else wholly immersed. The crowd remained silent as he played – amazingly, a very rare sight at local gigs – only raising their voices to cheer and show their appreciation between his songs.

It was excellent stuff from a talented guy who is from far as fake as it gets. A secret guest who was rightfully special, indeed.

On the other side of the spectrum, we were really acquainted with dream pop troupe L-Space. They begun with the nice I Never Knew, but things went south during Home Sweet Home, where the pedals didn’t co-operate and proceeded to deafen everybody with bitter screeches, but Stephen saved the day and it was smooth sailing from there.

For our money, Lily has one of the most purely delicate and beautiful voices in the entire scene, and it’s all the more apparent when you see her on stage. She’s so hypnotic to watch, and it’s further emphasised by just how much she herself gets engrossed in the moment.

Dickson’s subtle bass chords boosted the ambience, and Gordon, while under the delusion that he was a comedian, was a capable multi-tasker and provided both great riffs and spacey synths.

One of their notable strengths is the intriguing subject matters that they tackle, through the likes of Tigers In The StreetEyes Shut and the superb Space Junk, all defined by engaging writing, and their rendition of Bjork’s All You Need Is Love was stunning.

Luckily, the audience were totally understanding about the issues and gave them no slack, instead giving them their utmost attention. A shaky start killed the mood at first, but gradually they recovered and gave us yet another real fine performance with diverse material equally poppy and atmospheric.

And now to close off the gig was country outfit The Gracious Losers, who had quite the challenge trying to get squeezed onto the tiny stage, but they accommodated.

Their strongest attribute for certain was their chemistry; every single member put in a resolute effort, and you never got the impression that any were slacking or falling behind, they functioned like a well-oiled machine.

In the process of this, they gave us these fantastic tunes of many varieties. There were a mixture with sweeping, upbeat melodies so catchy that you couldn’t help but nod along – you could visibly see silhouettes in the dark doing exactly that – but also a fair share of slow, hushed numbers that were fiercely magnetic, and even those that started quietly and built up to awe-inspiring conclusions.

The tracks had too many elements to count – an excellent leading performance, polished guitar chords, smooth basslines and keys, solid drum beats, eloquent violins and outstanding ensemble harmonies – all fused together to produce these grand soundscapes, with our personal highlights including Where The River Meets The SeaMoonlight Parade and the reeling I Can Never Read The Signs.

Topped off with Carol Vorderman-inspired comedy, this was a wildly entertaining, better than expected show from a bunch of very accomplished musicians who are united as, in our mind anyway, one of the elite underground Scottish acts of their genre.

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