Gig review: Aidan Moffat - Faslane Peace Camp

Aidan Moffat backed by Stevie Jones,  James Graham and Jenny Reeve. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Aidan Moffat backed by Stevie Jones, James Graham and Jenny Reeve. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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WHEN Aidan Moffat, poet and raconteur, and filmmaker Paul Fegan secured Commonwealth funding for a Scottish musical storytelling roadtrip, entitled Where You’re Meant To Be, did they imagine it would lead here, to a gig on a leaky makeshift stage covered in sodden tarpaulin in front of a small audience of fans, friends, anti-Trident campaigners, their excited, heckling children and dogs marking their territory on a stool fashioned from an old toilet seat? Perhaps only in their wildest dreams.

Aidan Moffat - Faslane Peace Camp

****

This intimate, al fresco and rather damp gathering at the colourful and welcoming Faslane Peace Camp was the second in a series of stopovers around the country at which Moffat will be joined by local storytellers, singers and performers, though on this occasion his support act was his own guitarist Stevie Jones, playing a brief set of meditative acoustic instrumentals.

Moffat’s performance, with additional backing from Twilight Sad frontman James Graham and violinist Jenny Reeve, was all about the lyrics, however, comprising idiosyncratic adaptations of folk songs and originals specially composed for this tour in the candid/bawdy/pitch black Scottish storytelling tradition.

Moffat issued numerous parental warnings about the often eye-wateringly adult themes of the songs – though he compensated later with a U-rated verse story The Lavender Blue Dress passed down by his grandfather. Alongside the orgiastic Ball Of Kirriemuir and boisterous bothy ballad I’m A Rover, modified for the social media age, he offered choice words regarding the Catholic clergy’s stance on gay marriage on the typically scurrilous Ode To O’Brien and a version of Harry Lauder’s I Love A Lassie, adapted to his own situation as a pro-independence Scot with an anti-independence father-in-law.

This latter was preceded with the disclaimer that it was “intended purely as an entertainment, not a political statement” and taken at face value by the young audience member who immediately requested “another song about your girlfriend”. Instead, the haunting heartache of a lyrical parting song briefly tempered all that roistering.

“The common rules of gigs don’t apply – we’re winging it,” Moffat declared, before launching into the a cappella Where You’re Meant To Be, another of his classic shaggy dog stories about a pub crawl, fraught with the usual Glaswegian annoyances – sectarian perils, lurid cocktails – before it reached a contented conclusion. And for one night only, this soggy copse was where we were meant to be.

Seen on 23.04.14

For a full list of tour dates, see www.aidanmoffat.co.uk/wymtb

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