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Withered Hand / Union Chapel – Clark’s, Dundee – Thursday 23rd February 2017

I’ve always struggled a little bit with writing about Withered Hand for some reason. I suspect that this review of his Dundee debut last Thursday at Clark’s probably isn’t going to be much of a step forward. Still …

Dan Willson is without question a gifted songwriter and a talented live performer with a nice line in quirky between song chat. And all these qualities were on display at Thursday’s performance.

It was certainly a fine show with a five piece band delivering effectively a greatest hits set. Amongst the highlights were a rollicking ‘New Dawn’ and a delicate ‘New Gods’. (Ironically the only real disappointment of the evening was that there were no actual new songs!)

In general though the ‘New Gods’ album material got a welcome injection of energy which was no more noticeable than on ‘Fall Apart’ a song which kind of floats by on the album a bit but always stands out in the live setting.

The main set was brought to a close with an excellent, extended take on ‘California’ and a typically raucous ‘Heart, Heart’.

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The band then left the stage to allow Dan an acoustic take on ‘Cornflake’ (interestingly sung along to by a group of women who had been threatening to spoil the evening for many with their incessant chatter earlier in the show) whilst Dan was joined by Pete on horn for the closing ‘No Cigarettes’.

‘New Gods’ was a record that got played a lot in the car with the MPKs when it came out, probably a little too much, since they were both keen on it. So it’s taken a bit of distance and this show to remind me how strong that record is.

Support came from Dundonian duo Union Chapel. It’s the second time I’ve seen and whilst I enjoyed them far more than last time I’m still not bowled over by them.

Objectively, I’m not quite sure why that is – they’re very personable on stage and their influences aren’t that far removed from stuff I do like. But for whatever reason, I’m sad to report that they haven’t clicked with me yet but I don’t imagine that will be a huge disappointment to them as, otherwise, they were well received by the decent sized Clark’s audience.

Withered Hand played:

1. Providence 2. Black Tambourine 3. I Am Nothing 4. New Dawn 5. Horseshoe 6. New Gods 7. Love In The Time of Ecstasy 8. Fall Apart 9. King of Hollywood 10. California 11. Heart, Heart

Encore

12. Cornflake 13. No Cigarettes

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