Eugene Kelly ***
Except this time she wasn’t. This set was all Kelly, with just an acoustic guitar, a mouth organ and support act Dan Willson, aka Withered Hand, for company, and the effect was that some of the most anticipated songs here lost a little for his comrade’s absence.
In the absence of McKee’s choral voice and deadpan sarcasm, Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam and Molly’s Lips turned only on Kelly’s particularly Glaswegian vocal fusion of warmth and encroaching bitterness. Yet the intimacy of the setting also allowed his cultured ability as a lyricist and songwriter to shine through, and not just on Vaselines tracks like the above and the brisk Son of a Gun.
Kelly’s post-Vaselines band Eugenius were represented by Flame On, and there were theatrical compositions from Michael Pederson and Alan Bissett’s political play Parley For Power (which uniquely comprised audience-participatory dog-woofing) and the 2014 Commonwealth Games’ community production Sports Day.
He fronted up to the possibly misogynist overtones of Stop the Press (sample line: “I kissed a girl just to shut her up”) with a detailed story of its origin, and dived into yearning ecological mode with Dear John, each track a clockwork-precise example of a writer investing much of themselves in a song without forgetting to write a good tune.