Celtic Connections: Fiskur, Phil Taylor, Zoe Graham at The Hug and Pint, 30/1/18

Zoe Graham is an alt folk singer-songwriter from Glasgow who opens the show with a song about “industrial strength Velcro” – although it seems “industrial strength” may in fact be about people’s personalities with Graham preferring the “softer” side.

 

Graham is very busy on stage where she uses looping to great effect with her synth, vocals and guitar creating a full band sound.

The full band sound is perfectly demonstrated with ‘Hacket and Knackered’, the title track from her recent EP, and older song ‘Done’.

Graham’s performance shows her excellent songwriting ability leading to Philip Taylor (PAWS) to say she should have topped the bill.

Philip Taylor of Glasgow pop punk band PAWS is a performing a stripped back set, in fact so stripped back he has no equipment and had apparently borrowed an acoustic guitar from Hug and Pint owner Colin.

Where punk fits with Celtic Connections is not clear, but what is clear is that this night demonstrates the diversity of this year’s Celtic Connections.

What we are treated to is a set demonstrating the wonderful vocal range of Taylor and a preview of new songs he has written for PAWS.

So fresh in fact he apologises in advance “if they are shit” as it’s the first time they have been performed outside his flat.

He needn’t have and if the excellent new songs, highlights being ‘Joanna’ and a song about being “lonely in bars” are anything to go by the new songs are something to look forward to.

Headliner Fiskur is the new project of Glasgow singer-songwriter Ross Clark and to stretch the ‘Celtic Connection’ even further they are a post punk synth/pop outfit.

Built around some talented individuals with Clark (Three Blind Wolves), Chris McGarry (Washington Irving, Three Blind Wolves), Joe Rattrey (Admiral Fallow) and Frightened Rabbit’s Andy Monaghan the night is used to launch a limited-edition cassette containing the first 3 singles, ‘Too Slow Too Far’, ‘I Become Silver’ and the latest release ‘You Know Me So Well’.

Kicking off with ‘I Become Silver’ we are led on a positive, bright and solid musical journey via the three singles.

A rousing version of ‘Silhouette’; allows McGarry to demonstrate the power of his drumming and Clark saying ‘Too Slow Too Far’ was for Monaghan and with Bill Fleming joining in on sax for the final tune ‘Klinkhammer’.

Fiskur create a unique, fresh sound far removed the alt/folk/rock sound of Three Blind Wolves allowing Clark to express himself more with his unique vocals and strong songwriting, which has a more cosmopolitan feel; all backed up by some quality musicianship.

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Words: Derek McCutcheon
Photos: Kendall Wilson

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