Gig review: RM Hubbert, Edinburgh

RM Hubbert. Picture: Chemikal Underground
RM Hubbert. Picture: Chemikal Underground
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“This is a song about resisting the temptation to off yourself each morning, which I’m sure we all feel,” noted softly spoken Glaswegian guitarist and now singer RM Hubbert before Tongue-Tied & Tone Deaf, to feet-shifting bafflement from his audience.

RM Hubbert - Electric Circus, Edinburgh

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“That joke goes down a storm in London,” he sighed back at them. It’s true what he said later, though, that almost every song could be prefaced with the words “this one’s about depression”. Formerly the guitarist and singer with Glasgow’s fondly remembered El Hombre Trajeado, Hubbert’s latter solo career has functioned as a chronicle of, response to and therapy for his own struggle with the illness.

As is sometimes the way with such things, you never would have guessed from a show which saw the tattooed Hubbert in fine humour as he sat alone with his acoustic guitar.

There is the fact he won this year’s Scottish Album of the Year Award for his guest-filled second album on Chemikal Underground, Thirteen Lost & Found, of course, and the fact his new record, Breaks & Bone, has been warmly received. Or perhaps his good humour just stemmed from the fact, he says, that playing live is cheaper than therapy. “It keeps me sane doing this,” he muttered warmly, “so thank you.”

It keeps his crowd happy to see and hear him return too, particularly with his own soft vocal newly deployed, from the delicate brutality of Bolt to the appearance of support act Aidan Moffat on Car Song and For Joe’s instrumental tribute to his late father- in-law.

With the added context of its dedication to his own departed parents, the closing Slights was a highlight from an artist whose emotional honesty is often raw but never abrasive.