New Music Night, Euro 2020 Fanzone, Glasgow Green ****
With musicians’ ability to make a living and build a profile all but wiped out by the pandemic, there was a mix of joy and relief in the air at this showcase of Glasgow’s grassroots gigging scene, featuring a quartet of acts more used to playing sweaty club gigs or street busking than facing the socially distanced expanse of the Euro fanzone.
Dopesickfly brought the summer evening soundtrack with a mellow blend of sunny soul pop, reggae rhythms, choppy funk, rapping interludes from frontman Ant Thomaz, plus some tastyacoustic guitar work from Joe Djaelani on a Celtic soul number inspired by Highland trips.
Kapil Seshasayee is a true one-off, crafting a dynamic sound with double drumming action, fluid time signatures, intriguing tunings and distorted guitar and keyboards, over which he sang sweetly on sour subjects – endemic discrimination in the Indian caste system, the sexism of the Indian film industry – adding his own subversive epic Bollywood flourish to his idiosyncratic fusion.
Bellshill singer/songwriter Rianne Downey exuded a KT Tunstall-like natural style and confidence throughout her cheerful, charming set of crowd-pleasing covers and mellifluous originals. Mindful of the occasion, she kicked off with an acoustic Yes Sir I Can Boogie - retaining that meta second verse so cruelly ditched by The Fratellis – and fragrant versions of Flower of Scotland and Caledonia. But her own songs easily held their ground, particularly the winsome pop of Do or Die and her sultry debut single Fuel to the Flame.
Headliners Tom McGuire & the Brassholes were as unsubtle as their name, steering a party funk path between Average White Band and Hue & Cry. McGuire may have whipped the crowd into line dancing formation but the righteous brass section, featuring jazz trombone ace Liam Shortall, were the sonic stars of this outfit.
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