Human Don’t Be Angry / Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat – Margins Book and Music Festival – The Arches, Glasgow – 25th February 2012

At long, long last I finally managed to get out of the house for a gig last night and frankly if I hadn’t managed it for the Malcolm Middleton/Aidan Moffat double bill, the chances are I would never have made it again.

Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat

In a, perhaps, slightly unusual opening slot Aidan continues to pursue his rewarding collaboration with Bill Wells. Their 9 song set was almost exclusively drawn from one of the best LPs of last year ‘Everything’s Getting Older’ and accordingly was high on quality.

Whilst the Vinyl Villain has seen Bill and Aidan perform with a full band, this performance as a trio (mournful trumpet added throughout by Robert) seemed to serve the mood of the songs perfectly. It’s almost impossible to pick out highlights as everything sounded pretty wonderful. All in all a real treat.

Setlist

1. Tasogare  2. Let’s Stop Here  3. Ballad of the Bastard  4. Cages  5. Glasgow Jubilee  6. The Copper Top  7. If You Keep Me In Your Heart  8. Box It Up  9. The Greatest Story Ever Told

Malcolm Middleton, Human Don’t Be Angry

Putting on Bill and Aidan before any act is something of a gamble but Human Don’t Be Angry are a sufficiently different kettle of fish to provide a different experience. In fact the full band HDBA is even quite different to the solo guise of last year.

Featuring two guitars, bass and drum (together with laptop) and added vocals from Martin John Henry, the material ranges from the ambient to some occasionally fierce post-rock. Roughly two thirds of the dozen or so tunes are instrumental and the suggestion that I’ve made previously that the ones with words aren’t that different from Middleton’s solo stuff doesn’t really apply too much.

That’s best exemplified by ‘Dreamer’ (not on the forthcoming LP) which now has a lurching fast/slow arrangement that works very well with added Angry Band.

Best of the lot though probably remains the epic closing ‘Asklipiio’ which has a much shorter intro than on ‘Live at Leeds’ but a far longer coda.

Slightly strangely, given that it’s his project, Malcolm is positioned in the wings partially hiding behind the laptop leaving Martin centre stage.

I suspect that HDBA can get a little noodley at times for most people and I’m not going to disagree with that. But I was rather taken with the whole thing and impressed at the breadth of the material.

More photos from the show here.

I was slightly disappointed not get get a better feel for Margins as an overall event. Whilst the Arches with its different spaces is ideal for such an event, I was surprised to find that the Festival bookshop had closed before the gig. The Insularis Records stall was open but then they weren’t selling Doug Johnstone’s new novel! Something for Cargo to consider perhaps for next time (unless they tried it last year and it flopped!)

The Human Don’t Be Angry album will be released by Chemikal Underground on April 23rd and will be preceded by a digital download single, ‘The Missing Plutonium’. You can down load ‘H.D.B.A Theme’ from Chemikal here.

 

 

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