Yesterday I actually went into a record shop and bought an LP on the day of release for the first time in several years. At the same time I attended an in-store appearance for the first time ever.
The album is Malcolm Middleton’s ‘A Brighter Beat’ and the in-store was his 6 o’clock appearance at FOPP in Dundee. I’ll talk about the record later in the week but wanted to report on the short acoustic set today.
Playing 8 songs, only 4 off the new record, what surprised me was how well the songs, often with plenty of backing on record, worked in this format. Indeed ‘Loneliness Shines’ was every bit electric as on record (which is something of an achievement) and a testament to his performance.
In general the upbeat songs worked far better than I expected and he even unveiled another cheery new song, which will probably be on the next album.
It was however, certainly at the start, something of an awkward experience. He seemed a bit uncomfortable throughout with plenty of ‘emms’ and ‘errs’ throughout and even a blatant glance at the watch and a couple of quizzical stares to the wings like ‘Have I done enough yet?’ That ‘s a little bit surprising because he’s actually very personable and his banters great. Perhaps though the awkwardness stems from a polite but reserved audience who perhaps feel caught slightly in the glare of headlights in the well-lit shop and, apart from end of song applause don’t give him much to work with.
There is something of an ice-breaker though after ‘A Brighter Beat’ when he announces he’s going to play ‘Fuck It, I Love You’, briefly scans the audience before starting the song and spots a young girl of no more than 3 on her dad’s shoulders. There’s a brief pause whilst everyone clocks the situation before a mumbled ‘Eh, I could play this later if you want’. Dad politely declines and says go ahead.
At one point he says he’s not going to play a song requested by a couple in front of me because he feels too uncomfortable but he’ll definitely play it in Glasgow with the band then near the end he asks for requests, gets several and as far as I can tell ignores the lot! I can’t help feeling that there’s a sense of humour at work here …
Anyhow Malky continues his promo tour of FOPPs this week before setting out on a proper headlinging tour which reaches Glasgow on 25th March (more details here). You really need to catch him.
Dundee FOPP Setlist
A Brighter Beat
Fuck It, I Love You
We’re All Going To Die
The Death of My Unworthiness
Stay Close, Sit Tight
Speed on the M9
Devil and The Angel
Here’s a genius track (one of the best songs of the last few years) from the last, wonderful ‘Into The Woods’ LP.
Malcolm Middleton – Loneliness Shines
Review of the Glasgow FOPP in-store here