Gig review: Leon Bridges, 02 ABC, Glasgow

EVERYTHING about this elegant soul presentation was just so, yet not quite there. Leon Bridges and his band were immaculately turned out in retro style, he had the lithe but decorous dance moves of the old school soul groups and the music was equally manicured, with the vintage references in place – warm, twanging guitar, carefully curated doo-wop swing, gospel inflections, flattering paeans to a “cutey pie”.

Leon Bridges. Picture: Contributed
Leon Bridges. Picture: Contributed
Leon Bridges. Picture: Contributed

Leon Bridges

O2 ABC, Glasgow

Rating: ***

Bridges came to classic soul relatively late in the game, when the vocal comparisons to Sam Cooke started to crop up, and it’s a style he wears like a tailored suit rather than something which pours out of him. Granted, he is no blues shouter, more gentleman crooner. There can still be soul power in a soft caress yet Bridges’ ballads don’t quite hit that sweet spot.

On Lonely Road, he just didn’t convince that he was all that desolate. His feelings for “uptown girl” Daisy Mae were so restrained that he almost dropped off at the microphone – though he had no trouble investing more feeling in Lisa Sawyer, a tribute to his hard-working mum.

Hide Ad

Perhaps he will loosen up in time but, for now, Bridges is always checking himself.

If Bridges made a slightly raunchy comment, he would immediately follow up with “just kidding”, despite the fact that the audience were, as he noted, “ready to party” and responded instantly to the good vibes of mid-paced rock’n’roller Twistin’ & Groovin’ and the mellow jive of Mississippi Kisses in the encore.

Seen on 24.09.15