What A Fucking Carry On! – Arab Strap live

Arab Strap / Hamish Hawk – The Spiegeltent, The Spree, Paisley – Saturday 9th October 2021 (evening set)

Rather unexpectedly, I ended up going to see Arab Strap at the Spree Festival in Paisley a fortnight ago at about 4 hours notice, courtesy of the Vinyl Villain having a spare ticket at the last minute.

This was, to the best of my recollection, the first show I’ve ever seen in the town, although a regular venue will have to wait for another time as this show was put on in the touring Spiegeltent.

The show was a special acoustic performance with just Aidan and Malcolm (and Jenny Reeve contributing to about half the set), although it was quite possible that wires had gotten crossed somewhere down the line as Aidan felt obliged to apologise for the lack of seats!

With the different format, the setlist was shaken up considerably from the full band tour the previous month. Whilst the core of the new album was present, a couple of tunes not featured on the tour (‘Another Clockwork Day’ and ‘Sleeper’) were included. Having put off doing this for a couple of weeks though, my mind has gone a complete blank about most of the show!

Aidan too was far more chatty than at the last show, and plans to rejig the running order from the afternoon performance led to much confusion almost for the entire set – “If we’ve learned one thing tonight, it’s don’t put me in charge of the setlist!”.

It didn’t hurt the general vibe when a young woman decided to make a request – after they’d started a song. “I’m working!” (Aidan).

The subsequent banter was very entertaining too when she tried to make a further request on behalf of her partner. “Why is it always ‘First Big Weekend’?” (Aidan) and “Any more relatives?” (Malcolm).”

All in all it was a totally different vibe to the Dunfermline show but none the worse for that.

Hamish Hawk

Support came from Hamish Hawk and it was a little weird to hear the songs from the album stripped back to a solo performance. However, despite the simplicity of the presentation, Hamish was as engaging as ever.

Slightly worryingly, the proportion of attendees wearing masks was significantly reduced from the show in Dunfermline (see gallery) – is pandemic fatigue setting in?

Some snaps from the show:

I’ve had a (poor) stab at the setlist here – it’s incomplete and in the wrong order! Hopefully someone can improve it!

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