I'd not been to The Arches before (after a particularly unpleasant advertising series of posters on the underground a few years ago, I intended never to go, but oh well!). We had to go in the back entrance - that's a shady little alleyway! I quite liked it inside though - it's under the railway arches of Central Station, and the performance space is a cross shape section of four arches, with one being the stage. It made a very good stage - the sound was good and the lighting was well done.
It wasn't very busy, although the audience that was there was on average older than I would have expected. It was an odd gig though - the more mainstream, electronic nature of Get The Blessing would not appeal to more general jazz fans, but at the same time, the gig was not advertised (that I know of) outside the jazz festival program, so non-jazz fans that might have liked it would not know about it. Well, at any rate, those that were there enjoyed it, and I think a lot of them knew the band already (unlike us - we just came along on a whim).
The Alyn Cosker Trio were very good - and I always like to see a bass guitar (double basses are more common in the jazz scene)! This though, was less jazz and more blues/rock in style, which is quite distinct from most of the small groups you hear about in the Glasgow jazz scene just now. All three musicians were excellent (Ross Hamilton on bass and David Dunsmuir on guitar). It was one of those sets where I have no idea how they all manage to keep time through the drum solos, but they always do!
With Get The Blessing, I enjoyed the music - it was much less noisy and more jazz influenced than I had anticipated, and was nicely varied. However, the band didn't engage with the audience at all - they gave the impression of playing to themselves, regardless of the audience. They occasionally announced pieces, but they never once smiled, and the announcements were very factual (if pretty weird): "this next song is about ash, supermarket trolleys and cannibalism." A lot of bands could have made that sound funny or interesting, but they somehow managed not to. It was a shame, because as I said, the music was good. Perhaps they were having an off night. Perhaps they weren't happy to be in Glasgow! [Crazy people - Glasgow is great!]
During the gig we met a random guy whom we got chatting to and we all ended up at the Festival club after the gig, which this year is at the City Inn at the Squinty Bridge. This was very pleasant, if not very busy. The house trio was the Stu Brown Trio, and they were joined by various guests including singer and Radio Scotland presenter Stephen Duffy. I have never heard him sing before and was quite surprised how high his singing voice is. Also singing was David McAlmont, who had been performing earlier at a main gig. He also had a very high voice, but surprised us by suddenly singing very low as well.
Unfortunately, we probably won't be back to the Festival Club this year - we have to get up reasonably early every day!