The Moon Hangs So Low – Kristin Hersh live

Kristin Hersh / Fred Abong / Beerjacket – Museum of the Moon, Mackintosh Queen’s Cross, Glasgow – Sunday 24th June 2018

It seems like a long time ago, but I have vague recollections of seeing Kristin Hersh before heading off on holiday.

The show was part of a run under the Museum of the Moon, a striking globe hung over the audience which was a visually stunning but actually seemed to interfere a little with the music. Certainly, from where I was sitting there was a not insignificant hum which was most audible between songs (making it almost impossible to hear what little was spoken by the musicians), but which also affected the music given that this wasn’t a raucous rock’n’roll show.

Kristin Hersh

There’s something of a paradox about seeing Kristin live these days. Whilst her solo LPs seem to increasingly depart from the largely acoustic based early solo albums in favour of sonic invention, the live shows remain exclusively Kristin solo with her guitar -for understandable economic reasons.

Which might explain why there was barely anything from her most recent, wonderful LP ‘Wyatt at the Coyote Palace’ and nothing at all from her imminent Fire debut ‘Possible Dust Clouds’.

Nevertheless, there was still a good balance between songs from her 20th century body of work (‘Bright’ and ‘Krait’) and the longer standing solo songs such as ‘Your Ghost’ and ‘Your Dirty Answer’. There were also a number of Throwing Muses’ songs thrown in for good measure whether it be more recent songs such as ‘Milan’ and ‘Sunray Venus’ or older tunes like ‘City of the Dead’ and the closing ‘You Cage’.

All of which lent a familiar feeling to the set with the most significant change being that this was the first time in a good number of years which omitted readings from Kristin’s books.

Even without other musicians to back her Kristin retains her ability to captivate an audience whether on some of her quieter songs such as ‘Sno Cat’ or ‘The Cuckoo’ or occasionally summonsing some of fire of old on ‘Mississippi Kite’.
It was a fine show but, having reinvigorated her approach to making records, it will be interesting to see if there’s scope on future tours to mix things up in a live setting, perhaps with the use of loops.

Fred Abong

Support came from former Muses/Belly bassist Fred Abong and Kristin’s regular Scottish sidekick Beerjacket.

Fred’s set crammed about 15 songs into his 35 minutes set. Which meant that when something good started it was finished just as I was getting into it. There was enough to suggest I should check out the solo EP but the overall effect was slightly frustrating.

Beerjacket

Beerjacket’s set is a reminder of how much I enjoy Peter Kelly’s songwriting. He only played one song I recognised which I’m putting down to the fact that there’s a new LP due later in the year. But the overall impression was pleasing.

It seems to have been a while since I saw him play but I hope that it won’t be as long until the next one.