A Barrowlands sell-out & a couple of broken chairs

​A very, very sparkly Julie Fowlis, in both attire and mood, was spotted last night both before and after a blessedly different gig to the heartfelt rigours of Thursday’s An Treas Suaile (which has its final performance tonight, in Inverness’s sold-out Eden Court Theatre). Gloriously garbed in glittery gold, she was guesting with Niteworks for another full house at the Barrowland, no less: a gig for which she bore no responsibility whatsoever, beyond turning up and singing, at which she could just let her hair down and gi’ it laldy, make like a rock or pop star – albeit still, crucially, in Gaelic. Electro-folk/fusion from Skye with fiddle, bagpipes and Gaelic song, selling out the legendary Barrowland: think about that for a minute; how far we’ve come.
Very late last night, we were again granted the rare privilege – at least he seemed to think so – of being shown Ewan Robertson’s lucky pants. We should probably explain. On Wednesday night just past, Ewan arrived at La Bonne Auberge fresh off the train from Edinburgh, where he’d been watching Hearts vs Dundee. We never knew he was a Jambo, but he proved it beyond all doubt with a first flash of his official Hearts undies, though they hadn’t proved very lucky on that occasion, Dundee having won 2-1. Even during Celtic, Ewan does love his sport, and turned up last night with his nethers clad in official Glasgow Warriors merchandise, after watching his local rugby team beat Ospreys 9-3. Further questioning elicited the confession that he owns four pairs of lucky pants in total, including a spare Hearts pair, and one for the Scotland team – though he said these last ones now live in the everyday underwear drawer, given the dearth of recent opportunities to wear them.
Also on a sartorial note, we learned a somewhat random snippet of trivia from bodhran ace John Joe Kelly during a brief chat, after he’d accompanied flautist Steph Geremiah, who’d opened for Breabach at the Fruitmarket earlier. Seemingly both he and Flook bandmate Ed Boyd, both being of somewhat bijou stature, get quite excited whenever the band play in the Far East, not just for the exotic cultural experiences on offer, but the opportunity for some easy clothes shopping. “Taiwan’s the best,” he said. “We’re both about five foot nothing, waist and leg 28/28, and they just have racks of stuff that fits us perfectly.” Somewhat more excitingly for the rest of us, perhaps, he also affirmed that Flook are currently recording a new album, their first since 2005’s Haven, due out later this year.
Obligations elsewhere precluded our attendance at the Festival Club last night, but we did hear that Glasgow’s premier concertina-thrasher, Mohsen Amini, managed to break not one not two, but two-and-a-half of the Art School’s chairs while performing there - firstly with Talisk, then with one of the club’s celebrated ad hoc line-ups - thanks to the uniquely frenetic way he throws his entire body around while seated to play: the final chair was reportedly still standing at the latter set’s end, but very much on its last legs.
While the ‘plan’ to throw some tunesters and tunes together was originally meant to be co-led by Innes Watson and Adam Sutherland, apparently, word to this effect didn’t reach Adam until around 10pm, at which point he demurred, but no harm done, as Innes and Mohsen were joined by the likes of Ross Couper, Greg Barry, and piper Calum MacCrimmon, whose evening had already taken in two performances with Breabach, at the Fruitmarket then the club, and who for this last hurrah elected to play jaw harp, just for a wee change.
Back at La Bonne Auberge, the long-suffering bar staff were just winning the battle to clear the room, approaching two hours after last orders, when their worst nightmare walked in, in the shape of Shooglenifty fiddler Eilidh Shaw, box of Stella under her arm, from which she also produced a bottle of vodka. . . We didn’t hang about to see what happened, but are sure an amicable compromise was reached.