Wednesday night saw the co-headlining tour of Pete Lawrie and Pearl and the Puppets come to Mad Hatters before an appreciative crowd.
First up though was Glasgow folkster Darren Vincent a.k.a.Yaya Club. Although I only caught half his set, he warmed those assembled for the night ahead with his tales that weaved through that deft tapestry that is life. A set with a lot of promise, and humour, and a good way to start the night and also, he has an E.P. that you can download for free here because, apparently, he is nice like that.
Pete Lawrie took to the floor next, and it was on the floor that he played his first song from down in front of the bar with a bit of foot stomping and clapping to get the crowd in gear. Recently someone I talked to drew comparison between Pete’s voice and drinking copious amounts of whisky, in a good way of course, as if there could be any other. His voice tonight had that smokiness associated with a Speyside, but also that approachable nature of a Lowland malt, and all this from a Welshman; but then, all Celts as he said! Pete’s songs come alive and he really tells a story with passion.
His song writing, and his voice, to a certain degree, recall shades of Ricky Ross. Not one of the first names that would normally spring to mind but some of the lesser known heartfelt songs from Deacon Blues’ Ooh Las Vegas do conjure up some resemblances to Pete’s style, with Pete giving it a crank up on the soul and heartfelt emotion. Also, he never stuck slavishly to the script and twice changed tack to sing songs other than those originally planned. Even the final song was changed from Souvenir to Breaklight, a song which he hadn’t played for a couple of years and said it was possible that it could be a disaster, but hey it paid off and rounded off a fine set from the towering Welshman.
In what was a clearly designed to be an intimate acoustic evening (the lack of instruments on stage gave this away). Pearl minus her Puppets took to the stage amid a state of the art lighting system – 6 candles! As a little bit of background I first saw Pearl and all her Puppets at Rockness last year put on a great lunchtime set, followed up by an acoustic set with a single puppet supporting Kassidy last month.
Tonight we would have Pearl on her own. I do fear the next time all that will be on stage will be a bottle of red wine….. maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that (Sorry Pearl!). But the Puppetless Pearl with her atmospheric candles gave a varied set starting with crowd pleaser Mango Tree, and interspersed with other notable songs such as Because I Do and Kisses, through to the final song of the night Make Me Smile. We were also treated to a couple of new songs which may appear on her album to be released later this year.
If tonight was anything to go by the album will be an absolute treat, with promises of lush string accompaniments as well as those better known aforementioned songs. From behind her fringe Pearl delivered that truly whimsical vocal of hers with aplomb. The one thing that didn’t really work was the humming section with the audience. When I say it didn’t work, it didn’t work in Inverness, but it may work elsewhere!
At the end of her set both Pete and Pearl chatted to fans, and had their picture taken with them too, in the short space of time before the door staff moved everyone downstairs. Maybe this time next year such access to them both may not be quite so easy, let’s hope so, in a good way!