The role of the support act is an undeniably difficult one, and this is especially the case tonight as a chatty crowd piles into the cosy confines of Oran Mor to see world famous and highly respected folk singer Martha Wainwright.
However, Michael Cassidy, a singer songwriter hailing from Paisley, commands the room from the opening note, makes it look easy.
Cassidy’s voice is instantly striking, it’s traditional yet somehow original, powerful and capable of an impressive range.
His music falls into the folk-pop bracket and is clearly popular with the transfixed audience, the singer concludes his set with a run through of his recent EP, which is definitely a record worth investigating.
When Marta Wainwright arrives onstage she hushes the hubbub with an arresting rendition of a song from an unproduced musical written by her mother.
This surprising choice of opener encapsulates the tone of this eclectic set, which includes tracks from previous albums, new unrecorded material, further performances of her parents’ songs and a cover of a Canadian folk song written by an obscure traditional singer.
As jumpy and disjointed as this sounds Wainwright pulls it off with ease and grace, moving seamlessly through the decades with a charismatic self-deprecating wit.
The Canadian is the epitome of laidback cool, even calling out to the barman mid-set to request a beer.
It’s exciting to hear Wainwright’s music in a purely solo context, with only her acoustic guitar for accompaniment, songs from the Come To Mama album such as ‘Can You Believe It’ and ‘Radio Star’ holds a far greater emotional power.
The aforementioned new material is also very well received, with the unreleased tracks combining her typical blasé treatment of romantic issues and stunning vocal runs with her voice sliding from unimaginable heights down to deep sultry twangs.
The two truly memorable performances of the night come latterly in the form of the painfully honest ‘Bleeding All Over You’, from the album I Know You’re Married but I’ve Got Feelings Too, and a cover of ‘Pretty Good Day’, a song released by her father Loudon in 1999.
The gig closes on a poignant note with a new song, which Wainwright dedicates to a friend who recently lost his battle with cancer and it’s evident that the touching lyrics strike a chord with the crowd.
Wainwright gives her audience exactly what they want, a great night out, hilarious and heart-warming anecdotes and above all, brilliant music.
Words: Ellen Renton
Photos: Sandy Gibson