Music review: King Tut’s New Year Revolution

Carly Connor  PIC: Robert Perry
Carly Connor PIC: Robert Perry
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New year, new faces. The budding A&R man or confirmed starmaker could do worse than dip into the King Tut’s New Year Revolution, their annual January run of local band bills, offering four upcoming acts, a DJ and an aftershow gig in the bar each night as a shrewd way of showcasing new talent and getting the venue full of music-loving locals at a quiet time of year (at least until Celtic Connections kicks off).

King Tut’s New Year Revolution

King Tut’s, Glasgow

Mid-week, the atmosphere was relaxed and mellow for acoustic troubadours John Rush (***) and Callum Beattie (***), both likeably confident performers of the open mic slot variety. Of the two, Rush has the more interesting voice and songs. There was a hint of Caledonian rhythm’n’blues rasp in his rootsy pop, although it is Beattie’s more prosaic but catchy pop which sounds of the moment.

Jazzy duo Fenella (***) blend the lithe, expressive vocals of Marie Fenella Whittle and the subtle but dexterous backing of guitarist Jack Boyce. Their short set of quirky ditties about dark matter, including a western swing number about colonialism (I think), was influenced by the sounds of the Parisian pavement café as much as the Berlin cabaret club.

The energy and attitude shot right up when Carly Connor (****) and her band stepped up to headline. Connor was first tipped a few years ago; experience has only brought her back stronger. She’s an old school blues belter, who can effortlessly tilt her larynx to soul and rock, turning in a diverse set to showcase those pipes, the best of which was Motown-inspired stomper Who’s Gonna Love You When I’m Gone.

On Friday night, the venue was packed with let’s-get-the-weekend-started intent, not to mention a solid, vociferous fan/friend/family contingent out for each act. Indie rockers Rascalton (***) were confident without being cocky, the latest in a self-perpetuating line of punky tykes stretching back to The Undertones and The Buzzcocks. Their foghorn singer teetered on the brink of tunefulness but emerged victorious for the excited fan who non-ironically proclaimed them “the best band I’ve seen all year”.

Lucia (***) was harder to get a handle on, though that’s no bad thing. There was a strong husky vocal and some sonic strut at the heart of the performance but it felt like the stylist had been brought in too early to shape the product.

The Slits, Tom Tom Club and ABBA pumping over the PA paved the way for The Van Ts (****). Fronted by the unison voices of the Van Thompson twins, Hannah and Chloe, with Joanna Forbes on bass and Shawn Hood on drums, they fit quite deservedly in that lineage of female-led bands, reminiscent of new wavers The Go-Gos and the Bangles in their tougher, sweatier live incarnations. Former single Laguna Babe was typical of their sound – cheerleader bubblegum with a bloody nose and swirling gothic guitars.