As hail and rain soak Glasgow’s west end, Raymond Meade impresses an intimate crowd on the most miserable Wednesday evening of the year.
Fresh from recording sessions with legendary Oasis/The Verve producer Owen Morris, Meade and accompanying bassist Steph McKellar are in fine form.
Dedicating a cover of ‘Ooh La La’ (originally by The Faces) to the late Bobby Keys, who featured on Meade’s track ‘Why Don’t We Do It Again’, Meade and McKellar are warmly received and clearly enjoying themselves.
With a mixture of material from his 2012 album, Fables and Follies, and his forthcoming album, Meade’s slot flashes by with the crowd left cheering for more.
Emerging on stage to raucous applause shortly thereafter, Steve Cradock, dressed head to toe in white, greets the warm crowd: “good evening Glasgow,” “good evening, Mr Cradock” yell back a handful of drunk fans.
Opening with ‘Last Days Of The Old World’, Cradock sits with a 12-string acoustic on his lap, flanked by wife Sally on keys and accompanying guitarist and bassist.
Spending an in-ordinate amount of time tuning his guitars between songs, Cradock seems frustrated with sound issues.
‘On And On’, from 2009’s The Kundalini Target, is a struggle, visibly annoyed at guitar effects; he stamps on his pedal muttering “fucking hell” into his microphone mid-song.
Having angrily pulled his earpiece out, Cradock yells angrily at his accompanying guitarist during a solo.
The absence of guitar-techs makes for uncomfortable and lengthy pauses between songs, with Cradock taking the onus to change instrument and tune each accordingly upon himself.
Following each song, several audience members seem keen to have their voices heard and interact with Cradock.
Upon being offered a pint by one such fan, Cradock tells him he’ll “take a tea, mate.”
Letting wife Sally take lead vocals for ‘Anyway The Wind Blows’, Cradock grows happier, settling into the set.
Following this, Cradock moves from guitars to keys, spending several minutes messing around and chatting with the crowd as he does so.
As the set progresses, the crowd grow more vocal, the awkward gaps between songs proving a fruitful opportunity for inebriated fans to interact with Cradock.
Growing tired of the persistent shouting, Cradock eventually asks the audience for quiet, stating that the gig is “not a football terrace”.
As one of the most vocal crowd-members approaches the stage and informs the room that the tattoo upon his arm is a homage to Steve, the crowd appreciatively applaud Cradock’s friendly and considerate handling of the situation.
Following the initial sound issues, Cradock and band justify the ticket price with a rounded and convincing performance; leaving the stage for the final time, Cradock thanks the Glasgow crowd for coming out; “worth every penny” the tattooed fan tells him.
Words: David Graham
Photos: Bill Gray