Robin Adams had the task of warming up the sold out Hug & Pint crowd from the biting cold snow outside, and we feel that he succeeded in that regard.
Quiet and mysterious, and possibly named Simon in actuality, his vocals were smooth and he was a sterling guitarist, and he was joined by his two partners; David plucked out some nice chords on the double bass that contributed to the beats that were often gentle but sometimes toe-tappingly catchy, while Amanda supplied sparkling backing harmonies and was handy with a saw too.
The songs on offer didn’t usually have the brightest subject matters, in fact a couple leaned towards being straight up dark, but he had us all hooked regardless with such gripping writing, with The Beggar being our personal highlight for it’s raw emotional value.
With responses from the “real rowdy audience” ranging from respectable applause to “f***ing perfect”, this was an enjoyable display from a humble hairy bloke with great talent.
Up next was Tamu Massif journeying from Bristol, who spiked our curiosity quickly as he got a projector and screen set up, not the most common of sights at local gigs, and it was utilised to show us a montage of clips from his hometown, among other things.
As for the music itself, he gave us some intriguing experimental electronic pop pieces with a range of tones, most being built upon multiple rich layers of overdubs and several instruments such as a keypad, pedals and the guitar, the latter of which he used to pick out some sublimely melodic riffs, and he also had a fine voice at his disposal.
The content spanned his EPs and forthcoming debut album (being released on “Brexit Day, yaaay…”), and there was some interesting banter between the tracks, including Tamu’s animosity towards his little brother for judging his artistic decisions, but the most memorable part of the set came in the final number when he sparked a brief wave of sing-song from some of the audience.
Different, but satisfying so, this was a well done performance from a genuinely charming chap who we hope can make the trek up to Glasgow another day soon.
We first saw Beldina, aka Heir Of The Cursed, a couple of years ago supporting Fenella at the small 13th Note, and she made an infinite impact on us. Just a few months back, we got to see her again at Saint Lukes, where she flourished within a grand setting. And now for the third occasion, we were witnessing her at another totsy venue, but you know what, this is the environment in which she shines best.
The contained, intimate setting really helped to boost the supremely hypnotic atmosphere instantly kindled, which never died at any point over the whole hour. Beldina also politely asked for the disco ball to be used, and it gave the set that nice extra touch to further enhance the mood.
Every single one of her numbers, without fail, gave us legitimate goosebumps and sent tingles shooting across the body. Likewise, she had this total grasp over all the folk in the room, who were completely silent in awe to a point where it was almost eerie. Her voice was so beautiful and graceful, her guitar chords mesmerising and the lyrics utterly pulling. On top of all that, she had a hell of a sense of humour, and in the breaks she entertained us with hilarious chat.
We don’t think it would be too big a stretch to rate Beldina a perfect score here, as she proved herself to be one of the Scottish scene’s most magnetic stars; a one-of-a-kind individual who engrossed us with one of the most stunning, captivating experiences we have been part of in recent memory.
We were glad to have battled through the harsh weather winter to come to this, for it was – and Beldina will either love or hate us for using this particular sentiment – a “never ending banquet of delight”. Rest in peace, Barry White.