Aidan Moffat and R.M.Hubbert at Sage Gateshead on 31st May 2014

aidan-moffat rmhubbert_colour

This is the closing night of the short but sweet Lau-Land mini- festival and it’s certainly a strange one.

Sadly, the crowd is rather thin on the ground numbering perhaps only 30 hardy souls. Among them though is Maximo Park head honcho Paul Smith so at least we are among the trend-setters! Everyone else must have gone to see stadium rockers King’s of Leon blasting St. James Park

This is a double header tonight and we have an hour by each artist and kick off with a mostly spoken word set by Aidan Moffat who’s perhaps best known as a member of Arab Strap back in the 90’s. These days he’s something of a ranter delivering pithy short stories and self composed “Folk Songs” on a range of topics including sex, nudity, money, social media,and a blue dress made out of bedding. It makes for a funny and foul-mouthed hour that is certainly not fit for children.

R.M Hubbert follows and delivers a somewhat surreal hour that touches on many taboo subjects like mental illness, depression, divorce and “the obscenely rich c***s playing golf” who live in Hubbard’s home town of Troon. He’s a gifted acoustic guitar player who set out to master the flamenco style “because its really difficult” and has become a real master with fiery runs and rumbling percussion on the body of the guitar. His songs are, he tells us, his therapy and being Scottish he’s happy that we pay him for his therapy sessions.

He talks about transcendent moments in his life but these events are sometimes routine like the amazing curry he had some years ago that, he grinningly tells us, changed his life, he might even be serious too. He wonders aloud what might have happened if he and Batman had swapped lives and we get a surreal stream of consciousness that leaves the audience giggling nervously. He relates several stories from his rich life but my favourite was the one about whiskey, underpants and murder ballads that helped through severe depression. We are told too about the day that BBC’s “Newsnight” programme used one of his tunes for a feature about Glasgow. He’s left disappointed though when he discovers that the tune they used was his ode to Glasgow’s buck fast drinkers and Ecstacy users nattily titled ‘Buckstacy’.

He leaves reminiscing about his mothers death when he played with a Lego Darth Vader as she took her last breath. Superlative playing, beautiful songs but weird tales. A strange evening.

Reviewer: Greg Johnson

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