Live review: Sam Amidon, Siobhan Wilson at Mono, 23/10/13

IMG_0004Listening to Sam Amidon on record is far different experience from seeing him live; on record he’s an accomplished musician, performing songs with an indie folk feel that are forward thinking and pull away from the traditional but none of that prepares you for the whimsical nonsense humour Amidon spouts in a live setting, it’s brilliant and it’s hilarious.

First though it’s the turn of Glasgow based singer-songwriter Siobhan Wilson, and as she take the stage barefoot, hair tied up, red wine in hand the venue draws to a silence.

Mono is the perfect setting for tonight as everyone is seated creating a space in front of the performer, this would usually produce that awkward situation where the act has to encourage people forward however tonight this creates a somewhat communal feeling where the artist knows they’re the focal point and doesn’t need people down the front to remind them of it.

Wilson lets her delicate yet quirky song writing float in and around the entranced audience, delighting with her soft and smooth vocals, only enhancing the relaxed feeling in this corner of Glasgow on a wet Wednesday night.

Those who have seen her before are sure to know what a delight her performances can be, and tonight she acts as the perfect set up for a surreal and charming evening.

When Sam Amidon tenderly takes the stage you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the presence of some kind of shy, yet brilliant, talent, however stick a mic in his face and these illusions are quickly shattered as the Vermont-born singer-songwriter starts to introduce his songs in the most amusing fashion you’ll witness.

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From visiting Iceland to see if there’s still volcanoes there to noticing the impeding panic portrayed through Kirsten Dunst’s eyes in all of her movies, tiny donkey pillows to the full on concept of character King Speechy who, among other thing, ends up struggling to write a successful follow up album for Johnny Depp after penning hit debut Depp End of the Pool; you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d staggered into a stand up set punctuated with delightful songs.

Still Amidon is first and foremost a musician, and he was very much brought up that way with his parents both recording folk musicians, he started learning the fiddle at the tender age of three, so it should stand that the music should not take a back seat to the comedy and it doesn’t

Amidon’s songs are tender and heartfelt but when he lets rip they’re big and powerful, he’s certainly not a guy who’s created a comic persona to draw attention away from his musical ability.

Tonight draws music from a range of his releases but it is a chance for Glasgow to hear material from his latest album, Bright Sunny South, for the first time, and the what appears the album’s most popular track ‘My Old Friend’ makes an outing among others.

Amidon is comfortable on a various instruments, tonight he switches between guitar, banjo and fiddle; his vocal delivery switches from moment to moment going from a drawl murmur to really letting go and providing us with another reason why this guy is worth seeing live.

Speaking to someone who had seen Amidon last time he played Scotland they stated that the last time he was toying with the surreal humour side of set but wasn’t quite in the same ballpark as he is tonight, still comedy or no comedy this guy is well worth the entrance fee on his musical talents alone.

more photos

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Beth Chalmers

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