Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat / R.M. Hubbert – Twa Tams, Perth – Friday 23rd November 2012
I’ve actually seen Bill and Aidan perform several times before but never as a headline act in their own right. So, last night’s show was something to look forward to.
I’d only been to the Twa Tams once before but I quite liked it’s layout. The gigs seem all to be free but there’s only about a third of the pub given over to the venue with the room with the main PA accommodating only about 100 people (although there’s a screen and secondary PA in the main room). Of course this set-up guarantees that there’s going to be people in the pub who aren’t there for the gig.
Which threatened to be a problem for R.M. Hubbert. Indeed when he started it was difficult to hear him over the chatter from the next room and I briefly worried that the whole evening might have been spoiled. But stepping closer to the speakers helped and the distraction quickly disappeared.
I’d not heard much of him before and even the descriptions of his music, to be honest, didn’t sound too enticing. Yet I actually found his guitar playing quite hypnotic and soothing and, structurally, the handful of pieces he played seemed almost post-rock with an almost drone-like approach. His half hour was over far more quickly than I thought it should have been, which was undoubtedly a good sign.
Fortunately Bill and Aidan didn’t suffer from distractions from next door as a) there were more people to hear them, and b) their set-up was actually a fair bit louder.
For some reason, every time I’ve seen them perform, it’s been in the stripped back 3 piece with Bill and Aidan enhanced by Robert on trumpet. It’s an approach which suits the tunes but this time out Aidan also played percussion throughout which changed the basic dynamic somewhat – in a good way.
The set was essentially based on the award winning LP with a B-side, a cover and, for the encore, no fewer than 3 new songs. Yet there was no feeling of over-familiarity and, despite the melancholic nature of some of the tunes, I found myself feeling quite elated by the whole show.
Maybe because they’re operating some distance away from the MPT motherload, I think I underestimate them sometimes but it’s nice to be reminder that actually the songs ARE fantastic and that seeing them played in person is a rewarding experience.
Photos from the show here.