Music review: Finley Quaye, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Finley Quaye may no longer be the charismatic, swaggering star of the late Nineties, but that distinctive voice is still there, as is the timeless setlist, writes Fiona Shepherd
Finley Quaye PIC: Julian Makey/ShutterstockFinley Quaye PIC: Julian Makey/Shutterstock
Finley Quaye PIC: Julian Makey/Shutterstock

Finley Quaye, Oran Mor, Glasgow ***

One time Brit Award-winning golden boy Finley Quaye marked the 25th anniversary of his classic debut album Maverick a Strike in much reduced circumstances, facing a smallish audience as a fidgety, almost apologetic figure whose most prominent public appearances in the past decade have been for court dates.

Quaye today is far from the charismatic, swaggering star of the late Nineties. Hunched over a microphone stand which he was constantly adjusting and dressed as if trying not to attract any attention, he seemed far from comfortable, even in the face of a supportive audience with a desire to respect his music.

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“You’ve got this,” someone shouted from the floor, more in hope than expectation. Quaye’s distinctive voice was still there, if tentatively offered, but what he has got is a timeless setlist and a committed band who were across the various genres which coalesce in Quaye’s music, from the burnished seduction of It's Great When We're Together to the grounding dub rhythm of Ultra Stimulation via the acid inflections of When I Burn Off Into the Distance from brilliant follow-up album Vanguard.

Quaye did not quite nail the bittersweet appeal of Even After All and missed other opportunities to take charge of the performance, allowing his band to run away with the energising punky thrash of Spiritualized.

Slowly, he took ownership of the stage with a low-slung blues and the perky acid skank of Supreme I Preme and finally mustered a spark of confidence in his delivery, embellishing the pop reggae appeal of Your Love Gets Sweeter Every Day with a burst of the complementary rhythm’n’blues standard The Dark End of the Street.

But the perverse streak remained – just as Quaye appeared to be getting comfortable and the stage was set for the customary “one more tune” (surely Sunday Shining?), the set came to an unresolved close.

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