Sunday, 21 November 2010

Nights like these will be the death of us





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Butcher Boy @ Offshore Cafe, Glasgow, 20-11-10
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You will need to have some faith here, I'm afraid, but it's simply impossible to write these few words without sounding like a right smug wee so-and-so. But, really, this is Butcher Boy we are discussing, and... a) they are playing live for the first time in over 18 months, b) new material from the forthcoming third long-player is being aired and c) the venue is a tiny independent cafe in the West End of the city that serves a mean cup of coffee and encourages you to BYOB. In sum, this is just a glorious occasion that leaves you pinching yourself a bit. I mean, even the entrance fee is a slightly ridiculous £2.50. But I am only here, in truth, due to a nod and a wink (and an 'insider' e-mail) from our own JC. So, I will leave it to him to tell you the tale of the evening, in detail, over at his place. Suffice to say, everyone was present for this incredibly intimate, semi-acoustic, performance with the exception of drummer Findlay MacKinnon. So, it was strings, guitars, keys, accordian and more, all working together to recreate some magical moments from both 'Profit in your Poetry' (2007) and 'React or Die' (2009). It was John Blain Hunt's distinctive vocals, and honest, heartfelt lyrics, that first enticed me into the world of Butcher Boy, some years ago now, and the canny way he has of delivering these lines is as soothing as ever this evening (and yes, it was also the handclaps that made me say MOAR!). Robert Spark, on bass, in the absence of drummer Findlay, keeps things moving along sharply, as well as providing a nice hook when called upon. Everyone is on form and game, so it is difficult, as well as unfair, to pick out some elements over others... but, it should be said, there was some delightful accordian playing from Alison Eales and Maya Burman-Roy's cello-playing reminds you of emotions you thought you'd misplaced or lost. Stunning, in the sense you can feel your heart melt as she finds the notes with her bow (and arrows) to finish you off, emotionally. Highlights from the previous releases played tonight would include the ultimate pop singles, 'Carve a pattern' and 'A better ghost' as well as the reflectful 'I could be in love with anyone', which (yet again) causes a few dabbing of eyes amongst the lucky gathered souls. And the new material? Well, it shines as it hits the ceilings (especially when the #44 bus goes past, illuminating the cafe and all inside). It has a warmth that makes the insides of the cafe windows actually sweat. It is cinematic in scope with a widescreen and dolby-enhanced sound and vision. John's lyrics are even more finely crafted and edited to syllable perfection, with tales of local Southside encounters and matters of the heart and mind. 'Helping hands' and 'I am the butcher' leapt off the page, for me, but JC will tell this tale more fully regarding the new material, I am sure, for not only has the lucky gent now witnessed the new material live, he has also had the pleasure of a studio-playback of the new album, back in August. But time is called. It is all over, and it's just a wonderful evening out, in great company, with kindered spirits who all want to see this group of individuals - this band - do the great things we all know they can do when together like this. Doubtless, 2011 will be the year Butcher Boy hit their mark and step-up to (modestly, I am sure, for they are all so bloody nice!) claim the musical crown they so richly deserve. In truth, Butcher Boy just make me so glad I live in this wonderfully hopeful city, and can thus enjoy nights like these that are actually far from being the death of me. These moments give me room to think and ponder, to accept the fact I do love this life. I do love this place, called Glasgow.
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Butcher Boy - 'Every other Saturday' (instrumental) (4.59)
Butcher Boy - 'I could be in love with anyone' (live) (3.02)
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You can find Butcher Boy here and here. You can buy their last album, 'React or Die' (How Does It Feel To Be Loved, 2009) here. They are supporting Belle and Sebastian at the Barrowlands in Glasgow on December 21st (it's a sell-out that night but some tickets are remaining for the Sunday, the 19th) but before then Butcher Boy are playing a wee 'Christmas Fayre' show at the Mitchell Library on the afternoon of the 11th. You must attend, and gather your Christmas goodies!
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4 comments:

  1. You capture it perfectly, with both the prose and the snaps. It was an honour to be part of last night....

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  2. A bit frustrating though - now I can't wait to hear 'Helping Hands'!

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  3. Colin, thank you, you're too kind. Love the photos.
    Robert.

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  4. Och no, thanks to you and the band, Robert! Will be at the Mitchell event so see you there. Brilliant idea that, a Christmas fayre and a gig!

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