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Mark Olsen and Gary Louris, Glasgow Oran Mor

Vespertine takes a trip down memory lane – can the ex-Jayhawks possibly measure up?

One doesn’t always arrive at a gig in the perfect frame of mind and it is fair to say your writer arrived for this gig in a foul mood for a variety of reasons. Poised and ready to be cynical, barbed and cutting; “A re-union? After all this time? Why? Who gains from this indulgence?”

However as the two founding Jayhawks strolled on stage and started tuning up I did feel an unexpected surge of excitement. It had been 15 years ago I’d first seen the band, in an almost empty King Tut’s as they promoted debut album ‘Hollywood Town Hall’. I have always made time for both men ever since; although Mark Olsen’s career has always been more low key and erratic than Gary Louris and his Jayhawks vehicle. I must confess to have been put off Mark Olsen’s work by his wife Victoria Williams whose voice is an acquired taste to put it mildly. In fairness she has Multiple Sclerosis and he could hardly sack her from the band! Only I would be so cruel.

However a recent burst of activity saw me downloading his albums and almost every Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers is worth checking out. Don’t be a fool as I was. http://www.myspace.co/markolsonandthecreekdippers

Could my heart be melted?

It took the first few bars of ‘Pray For Me’ from their classic second album ‘Tomorrow the Green Grass’ to have me reduced from hard-bitten critic to gushing fan. The voices, the liquid guitars, the memories….from that straight into ‘Over My Shoulder’ and I was a crumpled heap!

The gig mixed up tracks from the first two albums, including of course ‘Waiting For The Sun’ and ‘Blue’ and tracks from their excellent new album ‘Ready For The Flood’. http://www.myspace.com/readyfortheflood

They were both in fine voice, and good humour, with Gary Louris the more confident performer and the ‘front man’ so to speak. His superb acoustic guitar work added to the sound of the two acoustic guitars as ‘should have been a hit’ followed ‘should have been a hit’. The crowd seemed delighted to be hearing these songs again, and the atmosphere was one of joy rather than hushed reverence or po-faced reflection.

That didn’t stop some people talking through the gig, though, and I hope ELM’s ‘kill anyone talking through a gig’ campaign continues to gather momentum.

I emerged into the cold feeling uplifted, and that was now what I expected 90 minutes previously. I assume this is a temporary re-union but it is one to be welcomed.


One Response

  1. It’s always tough to compete against expectations. Sometimes the gig just can’t meet expectations. i’m delighted to hear that this did!

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