The dark yet cosy confines of The Glad Cafe in Shawlands was home to a special gig on Thursday evening, the return of Withered Hand with lots of new songs. The beautiful venue was well suited to the music and performers on the evening.
Getting things going on the night was Marie Collins and her band who brought their folk-pop infusion to the brighten up the darkened cosy confines. Marie is a younger performer who was mentored by Dan of Withered Hand through The Fruit Tree Foundation and it's easy for all to see why she was chosen for this honour, as her songs are thoughtful and have an honesty to them. At only 18, there is a bright future ahead of Marie Collins and with the help from Dan, and the Scottish music community, she should grow into an accomplished singer-songwriter.
Next to take the stage was De Selby, who got my attention immediately as I spotted some brass and I am easily weakened by some good brass. They did not let me down. With a strong emphasis on the music, we are presented with beautiful instrumentals that tell well woven stories, and there's also poetry to put to their own music that makes a strong impact on the listener. Their music talent and strengths with melodies are clear for all to see and leave the stage having warmed the audience up nicely for the headliner.
At just after half past nine, Dan Wilson and Pam Berry are welcomed to the stage with the venue now packed and eager for the performance. There are lyric sheets and pieces of paper everywhere and we soon learn this is because we will be getting to hear lots of new material in its early forms, as Withered Hand will be recording a new album in Glasgow in June. The new songs are grown out of everything from touring and planes to 'New Gods', which Dan is terrified to play but was particularly brilliant. We also get treated to Dan's current favourite song, another new one called 'Horseshoe' and it's just beautiful. The new material has all the lyrical genius you expect from Withered Hand tunes, and it's still hard to believe a few years that we all had to fight via the social networks to get Dan to SXSW. Tonight is also the first time the new Withered Hand band have performed together and there's many a joke about how it will get slicker as the evening goes on, and it actually does. By the time 'Heart Heart' makes its appearance in the middle of the set, the band are hitting all the right notes and the crowd are in the palm of their hands. And a personal highlight for me was finally seeing 'Religious Songs' with the full band in tow, as it's my favourite WH track and suitably beautiful in the live full band form.
Dan Wilson is one of the most honest and lovely musicians on the circuit and it was great to be able to witness his new material in early forms in such a lovely setting and on such a beautiful evening. This event was a brilliant way to spend a spring Thursday evening and has certainly been a highlight on my gig calendar.