Duncan McCrone and Michael Kiwanuka gig reviews
Two different singer songwriter musical worlds taken in gigs-wise this week, one being a young pretender establishing his throne and the other a veteran with over thirty-five years of experience across the songwriting and live performance spectrum.
Monday evening my destination alongside producer Nick 'Jukebox' Low was the City Halls in Glasgow's Merchant City to take in an intimate album showcase of Glasgow born singer songwriter Duncan McCrone's brand new album 'Colourblind'.
This the follow up album to 'All You Need to Know', offers of a diverse collection of 13 tracks with a mixed bag of original offerings, covers and traditional Scottish works.
His songwriting on this project depicts his life journey from childhood to the present day with humorous scenes from being a bairn to escapades encountered & endured as a gigging artist on the road and waters (many jovial tales of late night hotel hunting and missing the last ferry home!) to being member of the game of life in this crazy and beautiful world we live in.
Duncan further detailed how he was inspired to pen this album with more engaging and genuinely heartwarming stories. One noted tale which stuck with me was of an elderly relative who together with his wife had 13 children, but Daddy dearest was more interested in buying collections of art and instruments than give concern to Mother's worries about feeding her and his 13 children... saying that she was "Colourblind" to his great collections of art... a premise perhaps for the project itself.
A live performance to match a lovely and endearing persona delivered with warmth just like the album itself. I played 'Waiting Here For You' from the new album on Tuesday morning's show, which has a slight country feel to it with a Scots spin on it as part of our regular 'Playing in Town Earlier Tonight' feature.
One of my favorite numbers from this album is "American (I Wanna Be)" with Duncan sharing his vivid childhood memories of being taken in by Good Ole U.S.A as a wee boy from Glasgow. You can't help but get taken in by this song as regardless of one's age or 'era' we've all been fascinated by American popular culture at some stage in our lives or indeed still are.
I also bumped into the Captain himself, Mr Iain Anderson at the gig alongside Producer Stewart 'Prof' Cruikshank', so a true gathering of rogues you could call it! Expect to hear more in the coming weeks and months on All Night Long from Duncan McCrone's 'Colourblind' which is out now on Circular Records.
From a veteran to a relative new cat in the shape of London born soul singer Michael Kiwanuka who graced the stage at the ABC In Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street on Thursday evening.
You may have heard his singing and speaking voice on BBC Radio Scotland of late as he was in conversation & in session on the Janice Forsyth Show (Saturday 12th of May), where he performed tracks from his debut album 'Home Again'.
He spoke to Janice of how he's been growing in the music world through open mic nights alongside 'getting out there' and simply performing, is there any better way? Winning the BBC's Sound Of 2012 poll no doubt helps too.
As a live act his personal delivery is spot on, a voice with iconic soul undertones and a talented guitarist to boot. Sadly he lacks on stage presence; even though his stage was set with a good dedicated following turning out to see him, yet I felt he was uncomfortably shy as a character on stage. He maybe could have connected with the fans a wee tad better too but he's a young lad at 24 years old so no doubt this part of his armoury will grow in time.
His band came alive during the last few numbers especially so as they upped the pace by going into a lush soul and funk direction....this was the point they all connected but synergy was lacking as a collective....just a few smiles perhaps lads!
But regardless you can't fault Michael Kiwanuka's vocal performance,,,A receptive audience?...Hmm Yes...but he sadly didn't capture their attention fully, in saying that 'Home Again' (out now on Communion Records) is a gem of an album.