Gig review: Marti Pellow - King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Reflecting his successful parallel career in musical theatre, Wet Wet Wet frontman Marti Pellow’s latest solo album, Hope, features a judicious selection of songs from Broadway and the West End – relatively few of the usual suspects – performed in stripped-down arrangements.

Marti Pellow - King’s Theatre, Glasgow

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These were replicated here by pianist Grant Mitchell, who sauntered casually on to the stage and started tinkling away mock-idly before being joined by a small ensemble of musicians and an equally informal Pellow for a snail-paced alternative rendition of Mack The Knife.

From this unexpected start, Pellow quickly settled into somewhat cheesy An Intimate Evening With… mode, with cocktail lounge renditions of Till There Was You and If You Go Away. A jaunty interpretation of the Beach Boys’ God Only Knows failed to unlock the heartfelt lyrics, while Billy Joel’s Always A Woman was the usual cheese-on-toast.

For all his stage experience in such varied shows as Chicago and Blood Brothers, Pellow sounded strained when sliding up to the higher, sustained notes and displayed a tendency to overload on vibrato. The earnestness of his delivery on the likes of Send In The Clowns and Eleanor Rigby contrasted with his gallus stories from behind the footlights and, although he was a happy raconteur, he still managed to fluff the script, skipping over a song in his setlist.

However, as he got deeper into the second half, singing a couple of Wet Wet Wet numbers, including Love Is All Around in tribute to the late Reg Presley, a homely new song called Boulevard of Life and a bunch of MOR pop songs, such as Gentle On My Mind, Songbird and the Bee Gees’ Come On Over, selected with no agenda beyond simply loving them, Pellow really settled into his crooner comfort zone and delivered a more natural and sincere performance.