Mitchell Museum / Martin John Henry live – The Glad Cafe, Glasgow – 16th June 2017
You do sometimes wonder, when bands disappear for several years, if you’ll ever see them again. So the return of Mitchell Museum with new LP ‘Everett Trap’ was a cause for unabashed celebration in these parts – even before the comeback gig at the Glad Café was announced.
Yet the news that they were playing as a three piece left me more than a little uncertain about what this might sound like. When the band posted a picture of Raindeer playing both guitar and drums it wasn’t clear if this was a typical Mitchell gag – or really how they intended to approach live shows as a three piece. Yet in the blog’s recent interview with Cammy, he confirmed that it was actually true.
And the hybrid drummer/guitarist certainly added something unusual to the set – both visually and musically. Sometimes it was ‘hit – hit – strum – hit’ although on others, such as an adrenalized ‘What They Built’, Raindeer concentrated solely on his drums.
Despite the unusual set-up, my pre-gig worries proved unfounded. What was effectively a greatest hits set with some choice cuts from the new album was delivered with typical brio and sounded great throughout. The band’s surreal sense of humour remains intact and, for no obvious reason we were treated to a random blast of the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ theme tune between songs.
More reminiscent of the sets of old than the calmer new record, the band blasted through 45 minutes worth of quality junk pop with early singles ‘Tiger Heartbeat’ and ‘Warning Bell’ amongst the highlights. But newer songs like ‘Red Water’ and ‘Daybreaking Threats’ were ample proof that they’ve not lost their knack of writing memorable, insistent pop tunes.
It’s great to have them back.
Support came from a far less frenzied source in the shape of a solo acoustic outing for De Rosa frontman Martin John Henry.
My previous notion that Martin sometimes plays these shows with the minimum of advance planning was lent some credence at this show when two thirds of the way through he asked me for a request! (‘Scorr Fank Juniper’ for the record.) Curiously that seemed to open the floodgates such that the Mitchell boys almost had to drag him off stage after a couple more tunes.
It was a good natured set which took in songs from most of his albums with a couple of surprises thrown in. The title track of debut solo LP ‘The Other Half of Everything’ (only released as a B-side) was one of those – it’s definitely a song that belies its recorded status. There was also a new number which I did think was a Sophia cover (I was sure I’d heard it before) but Martin later confirmed that it was an original (‘Running Amok’).
All in all this was a good show and well worth a rare trip to Glasgow. Hopefully I’ll manage to catch both acts again before too long – and closer to home.