Malcolm Middleton/The Pictish Trail – King Tut’s Wah Wah Sweat Box, 28th June 2009
If he stays true to his word, then there aren’t going to be too many more Malcolm Middleton solo shows after the tour to promote his latest LP ‘Waxing Gibbous’ ends. And on the evidence of Sunday night’s show at King Tut’s, that’s going to be our loss.
An understandable focus on the new record meant that a huge slew of MM classics were omitted from the running order, yet it was still a great show. What was perhaps more surprising was the fact that the songs from the ridiculously eclectic WG, mixed in with some gems from the back catalogue, produced such a cohesive set.
By and large the main set featured the electric and dance numbers with acoustic songs reserved for the encore. Other than the opening ‘Red Travellin’ Socks’ which lacked a little zip, this was as good a show as I’ve seen from Malcolm. The new songs all sounded great with the highlights perhaps being ‘Box & Knife’, ‘Kiss At The Station’ and the closing ‘Don’t Want To Sleep Tonight’ with the band locking into a nice groove for the latter.
Of the older stuff, ‘A Brighter Beat’ was recast with Jenny’s fiddle taking the lead melody whilst rare band outings for ‘Choir’ and ‘Speed On The M9’ were both very welcome indeed.
And despite what you might have heard, no, he didn’t finish off with a rousing cover of a soft rock ‘classic’ and he certainly didn’t say ‘I’ve been waiting to do this since I was 12’ before bringing the guitars back in.
All in all it was a terrifically good humoured evening with his deadpan wit much in evidence no more so than perhaps during ‘Ballad’ in the encores when his running commentary on the performance of the song seemed designed to crack Jenny up. And you know what? He managed it!
1. Red Travellin’ Socks 2. Subset of the World 3. Box & Knife 4. Loneliness Shines 5. Kiss At The Station 6. Whistle 7. Shadows 8. Zero 9. Choir 10. Speed on the M9 11. A Brighter Beat 12. We’re All Going To Die 13. Blue Plastic Bags
14. Ballad of Fuck All 15. Carry Me 16. Don’t Want To Sleep Tonight 17. There was no last song, honest.
It’s worth mentioning the contribution of support act, the Pictish Trail to the main set. Contributing not just backing vocals to all the WG material he also delivered the rap in ‘Zero’ allowing Malcolm to avoid rapping in public for a second time.
PT’s own set, supported on backing vocals by Rozi Plains, was largely acoustic backed plaintiff numbers but was bookended by electronic numbers. Curiously it’s the first time I’ve been exposed to his music and it worked pretty well.
The Middleton tour continues in the coming days whilst he is next playing in Scotland at the Edge Festival in Edinburgh in August.