Music review: Dylan John Thomas, Barrowland, Glasgow

At his Barrowland debut, former busker Dylan John Thomas displayed an impressive talent for reading the (ball)room, writes Fiona Shepherd

Dylan John Thomas PIC: Anthony Mooney

Dylan John Thomas, Barrowland, Glasgow ***

Headlining your first Barrowland show is a musical rite of passage which comparatively few musicians reach.

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However, 24-year-old Dylan John Thomas has hit this landmark so early in his career that his stagecraft consisted of a winningly DIY banner of his name, his setlist lasted barely an hour, including embellishing covers, and his merchandise consisted of marketing his distinctive footballer’s perm as a wig – available for £7 on the merchandise stand and clearly selling like hot…wigs.

With a former busker’s skill at reading the room, Thomas knows his audience and they certainly know his songs so well that he barely needed to engage, as the home crowd ran away with song after song.

In a reversal of street musician fortune, Thomas’s own tunes – predominantly gallus Glaswegian skiffle pop with heartworn lyrics – connected more strongly than most of his cover versions, including Someday by The Strokes and an ambitious solo acoustic blues run at Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home to Me.

For the rest of the set, Thomas has mustered a band who bounced and tub-thumped amiably while he showcased considerable dexterity on acoustic guitar, adding flamenco inflections to one baying ballad and trilling fills and frills to Feel the Fire.

He still includes the first song he ever learned to play in his set – a rowdy Caledonian take on Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire.

But the fans were every bit as partial to the jaunty indie pop spirit of Fever and Nobody Else’s celebration of succour.

It was almost too easy a win for Thomas but it comes following several years under the wing of another grassroots troubadour, Gerry Cinnamon, who will shortly headline Hampden Park – twice – with an acoustic guitar for company.