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James Vincent McMorrow Live in Glasgow

BySimon Fern

Oct 18, 2016

10th October

O2 ABC, Glasgow

McMorrow is a singer-songwriter from Dublin who came to widespread attention with the album Post Tropical in 2014; he is currently on a world tour in support of his new album We Move.

Wyvern Lingo opens the night as the only support act, and despite a promising first song they grow a little boring and repetitive as their set wears on. Generally, Wyvern Lingo seem to lurk somewhere between pop-rock and jazz, but every new song feels like a jarring shift in genre, with no ‘flow’ to their set as each song signals a turn in mood. This discontinuity leaves a feeling of incompleteness and means there is little atmospheric development. Their cover of ‘When Doves Cry’ is definitely a highlight, but it might not be time to rush out to see them just yet.

Both Pitchfork and the ever reliable Wikipedia note McMorrow as a folk singer, and, unless I accidentally wandered into the wrong venue, I cannot say that this is in anyway descriptive. McMorrow’s latest album, We Move, has been a significant departure with a resounding shift towards a bassy-electronic feel rather than the low-saturated notes of Post Tropical. McMorrow sounds like Bon Iver over the top of the Stranger Things soundtrack, eerily nostalgic and driven by lo-fi synth with clean falsetto vocals cutting through the mix.

His ability to sketch a broad emotional landscape, roaming from broken hearted and contemplative to sultry and charged, really shines through in a set-list which encompasses so many aspects of such a diverse musician. ‘Gold’, ‘Higher Love’, and ‘Cavalier’ stood out as highlights, with ‘Get Low’ easily the best track of the night.

For some reason, the atmosphere in the crowd really is not great, and the O2 ABC continues to feel a little soulless, with such a large room managing to feel empty regardless of how popular the gig is. Some more tender moments are spoiled by screechy heckling, friends shouting to one another about inane crap, and the flashing lights of mobile phones.

Photo: The Snipe

By Simon Fern

President 2016-2017 Comment Editor (2015-2016) Fringe Theatre and Dance Editor (2016) 4th Year History and English Literature student.

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