Jack Law and his henchmen turned in a fine performance to a capacity crowd in the Southside’s Glad Cafe last Friday as they presented their first album to the public. The album, reviewed here, is a fine collection of songs with a definite American bent with many of Law’s lyrics inspired by recent trips to The States. Indeed they opened with the most evocative song from the album, Iron Way, which was delivered with a great arrangement, bar room piano and mouth harp summoning up the south west with a Morricone tint. It was a great start but the band followed this with some of their jauntier numbers with folk and blues more to the fore as on second number Nothing’s There while the mandolin driven Old Glass Jar and the skiffle/jugband like Dust Bowl Rust Belt Blues were real crowd pleasers.
As guitarist Dougie Harrison strapped on an electric guitar the band dived into the Southern rock of Don’t Want A Lover before they sashayed into the sleazy Chemical Jayne with Duncan Sloan’s electric keyboards summoning up a whiff of The Doors. Dead Horse Point, a stark portrait of a blighted land was a highlight, the images somewhat akin to Cormac McCarthy’s desolate tableaux. Harrison took lead vocals on Hope Sails The River while bass and harmonica player JC Danti led the band into the gospel like opening of Hard Times Bad Times with the audience clapping along and they ended with the organ fuelled You Can’t Get To Heaven, audience singing with the chorus, before an encore of The Weight (which seems to be the go to song for encores recently). Overall, the band were in fine fettle with several of the songs really brought to life in the live setting.
Support tonight was from Martin Stephen Jones, a Greenock singer songwriter who was a protégé of the late Danny Kyle. He had a strong firm voice as evidenced in his opening song, Looking For A Fairytale. Having spent some time in Valencia he delivered some songs sung in Spanish along with a tribute to his home town in Sugartown, written in a bout of homesickness. His set was all too short but he’s worth seeking out.