Music review: Amy Macdonald

Amy Macdonald
Amy Macdonald
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Despite the vociferous appeals of the evening’s most eager hecklers, there was barely room to wriggle, let alone dance, at Amy Macdonald’s first hometown gig in four years, arranged to preview material from her forthcoming fourth album. But it transpired that four years was not such a long time in pop music as she unveiled, with endearing trepidation, a modest batch of new songs which sounded very much in the vein of her old songs and most certainly not in the new heavy metal direction about which the freshly tattoed singer/songwriter had teased her label.

Amy Macdonald ***

Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow

Dream On was typical of her upbeat, optimistic rootsy Scotpop style. Automatic, co-written with her bassist, barrelled along pleasantly without leaving a lasting impression. Of the generous helping of familiar favourites in the set, 4th of July was recast as a lament in the light of recent events in her beloved US, while This Pretty Face received an injection of hoedown energy. Macdonald herself exuded more no-nonsense confidence than ever, good-naturedly calling the crowd to order when she felt their response was lacking.

She saved her best newbies for the encore. The solo, acoustic Prepare to Fall was about as close as Macdonald may ever stray into balladeering territory; even then, she was flaying her guitar by the end of the track. Backing singer Juliet Roberts added some gospel welly to Down By the Water and it was as if her very addition to the line-up conferred a newfound soulfulness on the remainder of proceedings.