The Silencers at Òran Mór, 27/12/14

If this were football match report it would detail 5-0 walk over; this was the first of a two-night stint for The Silencers at Òran Mór and the show consists of two sets each lasting an hour with a 15-minute break between.

The band come on to a warm welcome launching into ‘Painted Moon’, from their 1987 album A Letter From St Paul.

 

The Silencers have been around for a long time now, I recall first listening to them back in the 90s in Hamburg where they had a large and loyal following.

Like some other of our Celtic musical exports they have enjoyed more success on mainland Europe, mainly in Germany and France than at home, but this is a sort of homecoming.

The crowd, in a packed Òran Mór, is mainly the wrong side of their thirties but that doesn’t deter them from really getting in to the gig, especially when the band reach the fifth song in the set, ‘Scottish Rain’ a melancholic song about love and the fallout form Chernobyl.

Frontman Jimmie O’Neill leads, the now seven-piece band, with his distinctive voice and addictive guitar riffs from one catchy song to the next.

The three guitars, bass, drums, violin and vocals all blend pretty seamlessly together, each component is audible in it’s own right, while at the same time protagonist in a perfect musical picture.

There are a couple, of lesser-known songs in the middle of the first set, with ‘Answer Me’ and ‘Incredible Creature’, before ‘Sylvie’ from the much acclaimed album Seconds of Pleasure.

The second set gets underway with the title track of their 1999 album Receiving; Jimmie then introduces ‘Bank Manager’, a song about the greed of the financial sector, ironically this song stems from 1991 – I guess some things just don’t change.

The crowd take over at the end of ‘Bulletproof Heart’; in a turn around the band join back in with the festivities!

At the start of the gig, the atmosphere is good and loud, but it surges to a whole new level when Jimmie announces “Okay Glasgow, this one is for you” and Òran Mór collectively goes nuts for the entire duration of ‘The Real McCoy’.

This really is a special moment and there is a visible bond between the band and their audience.

The three-song encore starts with ‘Wild Mountain Theme’, simply a perfect vocal performance from Aura O’Neill and the show closes as it started with ‘Painted Moon’.

In 2014 I’ve seen a lot of gigs, this is definitely one of my highlights; as Òran Mór empties, the chorus of ‘Bulletproof Heart’ can be heard as folk make their way down Byres Road.

Words/Photos: Tim J. Gray

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