Live music reviews: James Taylor | Goat

James Taylor. Picture: TSPL
James Taylor. Picture: TSPL
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BY HIS OWN slyly self-deprecating admission, James Taylor keeps writing the same old song, hence the back catalogue stuffed with what he refers to as “treehugger anthems” and the resulting peaceful easy feeling which permeated this show, with its successive country-flavoured ruminations featuring mellow guitar from Mike Landau, a gentle brush of the drums by Steve Gadd and soothing, sometimes gospel-inspired backing vocals.

James Taylor

Hydro, Glasgow

Star rating: ***

There was little mood to choose between Something In The Way She Moves, the song with which Taylor secured his Apple Records contract in the late 60s, and the wimpy mid-70s favourite Shower The People - at least until backing singer Arnold McCuller delivered a soulful coda to puncture the sleepy atmosphere.

The unassuming Taylor himself was a tonic, peppering a predictable set which could easily have descended into dull worthiness with his playful humour, engaging observations, casual autograph signing and endearing habit of shaking his bandmates’ hands as he introduced them to the audience.

The musical tone varied a little in the second half when Taylor strapped on an electric guitar (to a comedy shout of “Judas!”) and led the band in some stodgy blues snooze. Nothing too crazy, you understand - the polite party vibe of How Sweet It Is was still to come, and soon enough it was back to the self-declared “hippy bulls**t” with the simple, touching campfire favourites Fire And Rain, You’ve Got A Friend and a beautifully harmonised Wild Mountain Thyme.


SEEN 29.09.14

Goat at SWG3, Glasgow

THE FAR OUT and fantastical Goat hail from Gothenburg, Sweden, though their hypnotic sonic hoodoo might as well have originated in the jungles of Papua New Guinea or on the moons of Saturn for all the relation it bears to modern Scandinavia.


SWG3, Glasgow

Star rating: *****

Their entirely fictitious back story has the group forming on a commune in Lapland where musical traditions from around the world were accepted, absorbed and nurtured – psychedelic, progressive and Krautrock being a speciality, it would appear from their thrilling, throbbing live set.

This potent cocktail was spiced up with the mesmerizing cyclical grooves of north African desert rock and the unfettered exhilaration of Nigerian Afro funk and delivered by a mysterious band of masked marauders, including a guitarist in bling executioner chic, what looked like an alien from Doctor Who beating out a relentless voodoo summons on a djembe drum and a bassist in a burqa (if that is not already the title of a Morrissey song, it should be).

Presiding over these heady, subversive proceedings were a couple of demonic cheerleaders in Venetian carnival masks, an acid-fried Agnetha and Frida chanting tribal incantations and strident unison mantras while stoking the mounting frenzy in the crowd with seemingly boundless reserves of shamanic stamina, shaking their staffs and their stuff through multiple musical crescendos, culminating with an intense bout of nosebleed Krautrock and white noise freakout which left their willing Glaswegian victims purged and probably deaf but thoroughly invigorated.