Don’t Applaud Normality (Have More Ambition) – Broken Chanter live

Broken Chanter / Wojtek The Bear – CCA, Glasgow, Friday 19th November 2021

Last weekend’s launch for the new Broken Chanter album ‘Catastrophe Hits’ marked the first headline Chanter show for a couple of years and was only the second public outing for the current six-piece line-up. Unsurprisingly, after the events of the last couple of years, it turned into a proper celebration.

Although I’ve been aware of show openers Wojtek The Bear for some time, this was the first occasion I’d actually seen them in person.

For some reason, I’d mistakenly imagined them to be a heavier proposition than they are in reality. Instead, they deal in Celtic indie pop with nice tunes (mainly drawn from new album ‘Heaven By The Back Door’) and a neat line in on-stage banter. Currently a five piece (I think they’ve been augmented with the addition of a violin player) they got a rousing reception to get the show off to a great start.

So to Broken Chanter and the show certainly lived up to David’s pre-show promise of “all bangers, nae clangers”.

The pandemic induced hiatus has led to significant changes in the BC match day squad as only David and Audrey (Tait – drums) remain from the initial line-up.

Jill O’Sullivan has effectively been replaced by both Lauren Gilmour (backing vocals) and Man of the Minch (violin) whilst Charlotte Printer has come in on bass in place of Gav Prentice. The line-up is completed by Bart Owl on second guitar.

The different character of the new record made for a faster paced show than previously and the four up-tempo pop songs provided the spine of the live show. Opening with the mighty lead single ‘Extinction Event Souvenir T-shirt’ was a statement of intent whilst follow-up ‘Dancing Skeletons’ midway through the set helped to maintain the momentum. Both ‘So Long …’ and ‘Allow Yourself’ (future singles, surely) were held back for the end of the set.

Playing with something of a swagger, the band delivered convincing versions of all four but it was perhaps the songs between the rockers that stood out. ‘Horse Island’ is one hell of a hooky tune and, sandwiched between ‘So Long’ and ‘Allow Yourself’, the two contrasting halves of ‘A Sad Display’ were accentuated, the first half understated before the full band exploded into life.

The tunes from the debut were pretty fantastic too with a hushed ‘Free Psalm’ an excellent counterpoint to the rockier new material. But, in defiance of convention, the older songs were mainly included in the first half of the set which speaks volumes to David’s confidence in the new material.

The positivity of ‘Allow Yourself’ brought the main set to a triumphant conclusion after an hour or so and left the crowd demanding more. With nothing else rehearsed with the band, David returned to the stage alone for a poignant take on Kid Canaveral’s ‘Low Winter Sun’.

That just about satisfied the crowd allowing everyone to fade into the night.

Aside from the music, it was a real joy to see and chat to so many familiar faces (well, eyes and haircuts at least!). And I think MPK2 was chuffed to head off with both BC albums for his burgeoning collection.

David is lining up more BC dates for the Spring and I can’t wait to see the band again.

Broken Chanter setlist:

  1. Extinction Event T-Shirt
  2. Wholesale
  3. Horse Island
  4. Don’t Move To Denmark
  5. Beside Ourselves
  6. Should We Be Dancing
  7. Dancing Skeletons
  8. Fast Food; Parked Car
  9. Free Psalm
  10. So Long! (I’m Not Around)
  11. A Sad Display
  12. Allow Yourself

Encore – Low Winter Sun (David solo)

Gallery of pics from the show:

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