Usually this blog is an account of my days. Today it is a review of Iain and Marc’s gig.
Iain Thomson and Marc Duff teamed up a few years back, and it feels as though they are the sort of friends who have half conversations because the other half is unspoken.
Iain had approached me a while back about any local venues, and the local village hall was chosen. I met him and his other half a couple of weeks back, and had distributed the posters he left from Balloch to Crianlarich! Sadly this did not result in a good audience, and financially the gig was not a success.
Musically it was a different story.
Last time I saw them was a few years back, and Marc had been having trouble with his uilleann pipes as they are very sensitive to temperature and humidity. Tonight he had no such issues. He also had with him a range of whistles, and also a bouzouki-guitar, an eight stringed and guitar shaped instrument, tunes as per a mandolin but with the top strings tuned down to D. His trusty bodhran was there was well, of course.
Iain used two different guitars, and I totally forgot to ask him about the tuning (I am sure he is very grateful I forgot to be honest, I bet musicians get sick of that sort of question!), and also an electric piano.
Both guys are without doubt very skilful and adept instrumentalists, but it is as a duo that they really come into their own.
Iain’s songwriting is vibrant, a living experience that captures real lives and real people. Not for Iain is the saccharine love story of so many contemporary folk singer/songwriters, but instead his songs ranged from one about fencing (wire and posts, not Zorro!), through ladies of the night, sheep shearing and ended with a personal and very intense evocation of realising where one ought to be. Marc’s playing complements Iain perfectly, he both underlines the highlights and provides a context and a texture to the overall pictures. In turn Iain also proves himself a responsive and generous accompanist, his piano or guitar being a perfect foil (no, I’m not back to fencing here!) for Marc’s whistle and pipes.
Iain and Marc have just released an album – No Borders (available from here – go on, you KNOW you want to – http://www.iainthomsonband.co.uk/new-cd-2018/ ), and as the promotional video he has posted on Facebook explains, it is a very personal and heartfelt experience in many ways.
Iain has been on the pointy end of the wonderful Argyll and Bute Council (I live in Argyll . . . ) and has finally concluded that he has to move on from his beloved Mull and is now emigrating to Sweden. Fate is Knocking at my Door is about this, and is a truly thought-provoking song that pairs perfectly with his earlier song (that he revisits on this album) The Long Road Home.
I am so glad that he played here, I am so sad that more people did not enjoy this fantastic evening, and I wish him all the best in his new life – and I hope that Marc continues to be able to get out of Falkirk!!