On the wall stage left, there hung a wooden, tribal-type facemask next to a fire extinguisher.
Used together, I’m certain, they would have had no effect whatsoever trying to contain or quell this spirited and blazingly inspirational gig by Dan Stuart who was, once again on Glasgow soil, in cracking form.
He was brilliant: edgy, funny, down-to-earth, and that was only during his jaunty, MC stints for this glorious evening, where he was well supported by Tom Heyman (who rode guitar side saddle for Dan’s set) and Fernando Viciconti.
Musically, Dan is in as fine form as he’s ever been. The new songs from his latest and garage/rock style album, Marlowe’s Revenge underpin the great works evident on 2012’s, The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings as well as the chunky gems from the days he fronted seminal band, Green On Red while affronting many others in the business or beyond.
Stuart, a compelling figure with a droll, madcap touch about him, was in a devilishly spritely, warm mood throughout. His singing was spot-on even though his guitar tuning niggled him, while a reviewer who had suggested he cloned Lou Reed chords for the new release had annoyed him and was dismissed summarily as he swept into a sinewy and delicious cover of Vicious, for the hell of it.
In fine fettle, he was bruising on The Whores Above and Name Hog from Marlowe’s Revenge, and then tenderly refined on The Greatest, his ode to Muhammad Ali from 2012. He was challenging on the bittersweet, Why I Ever Married You and gentle once again on Over My Shoulder, again from Revenge.
Baby Loves Her Gun was delivered as soothingly as a shy choirboy but Rock N Roll Disease was spat out with zest and the cockiness of someone who’s feeling invincible. He tackled everything perfectly, reflecting the scope of a superb, hard-to-better song catalogue. And what about Time Ain’t Nothing, the opening track on the 1992 release on GoR’s Interesting and Dangerous? Here, shed of the customary raucous sing-along treatment, it was almost a lullaby with Stuart nestling into the verses and chorus to give the timeless lyrics room to expand and breathe. It was unexpected yet sensational.
Heyman and Fernando have talent aplenty and provided first-class support sets. Heyman’s Time and Money from his current and well-crafted album, That Cool Blue Feeling is a heartfelt look back while his cover of I Ain’t Marchin’ Any More by Phil Ochs was rousing. Fernando, an Argentinian now based in Oregon, also excelled with a dark and eerie cover of Hank Williams’ Angel of Death plus tracks from his new release, Leave The Radio On.
When the three dudes got together for The Stones’ Dead Flowers, the superb event was brought to a fitting conclusion with smiles all round. For me, we had just savoured live music at its best.
Image: Paul Kerr