Music review: Hawksley Workman, King Tut’s, Glasgow

Hawksley Workman PIC: Rebecca Blissett
Hawksley Workman PIC: Rebecca Blissett
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If the cult American filmmaker and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait – best known as the strangulated Zed from the Police Academy series – decided to launch a supplementary career as a singer-songwriter, he would look and sound like the Canadian musician Hawksley Workman. That isn’t intended as an insult.

Hawksley Workman, King Tut’s, Glasgow ***

If the cult American filmmaker and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait – best known as the strangulated Zed from the Police Academy series – decided to launch a supplementary career as a singer-songwriter, he would look and sound like the Canadian musician Hawksley Workman. That isn’t intended as an insult.

Workman – real name Ryan Corrigan – is a stocky gent with a voice that could strip paint from a warship. Again, not an insult. During this solo acoustic show, he yelped, howled, grunted and growled to intense – almost alarming – effect.

Clad in regulation denims and peak cap, and with his eyes scrunched tight, his body jerked spasmodically as he sang songs pitched somewhere between the offbeat literacy of The Mountain Goats and the eccentric open-heartedness of Jonathan Richman. His irreverent tribute to hockey star Wayne Gretzky was a particular highlight.

He’s funny too. Between each song he improvised droll anecdotes about growing up in rural Canada, along with observations on what he’d experienced during his latest visit to Glasgow. He’s so genial, he even managed to bounce back from an eggy moment when he absent-mindedly stated that it was nice to be in England. He has been a prolific live performer for nearly 20 years; the man is a pro.

He didn’t even seem fazed by the fact that this gig attracted only around 30 paying punters, including a couple of witless hecklers who had clearly wandered in by mistake.

He has played tougher gigs, I’m sure, but this idiosyncratic artist deserves a bigger audience. - Paul Whitelaw