Monday, February 21, 2011

Rothesay Music

Rothesay is a friendly island a mere ferry's throw from the splendid Wemyss Bay station, all pale green ironwork and large potted plants placed on the ferry walkway by some green-fingered soul.
Martin and I had bumped into Bruce Morton and his partner Alison at Glasgow Central, and bundled up against the cold southwesterly, we bounced onto the ferry with guitars and winter coats, ready for the fray.
A tiny little old lady in a pale green coat, wooly hat, shopping trolley and cream wellies struggled to get the lift door open, and we let her in, then we realised she wouldn't be able to get out at the top so we raced up to let her out.
Once we disembarked at Rothesay we checked in at our B&B, which was lovely (the Boat House and we hung out there until it was time to go to the gig. We went via an amazing curry house (I've got no idea what it's called but it's on the seafront and it's a deafening orange colour inside) and some nice warm taxis to the Bowling Club where the gig was. Roberto Cassani and his partner, and Kenny Brady the ace fiddle player (he used to play for the Fall) had joined us by now.
This was the first time I had seen the Three Wise Men in action and the energy kicked off at once: Bruce acted as compere and got the audience laughing within seconds. You think he's going to be dour but actually he's a very warm performer, carefully setting traps and weaving threads that lull the audience into laughing at some quite rude stuff! One of his stories made me laugh for a full ten minutes, that sort of laughing when you stop to listen to the next story but you keep going back to the last one and start laughing all over again. I have a feeling that you could see him do the same 'set' a few times but it would be different each night and I'm really looking forward to seeing his show again.
Roberto went on next, all clean and shiny and innocent-looking, full of scampish humour. The islanders loved his Put Good Knickers On and Go Into Town song; there was a lot of knowing laughter at that one. When he did The Man Flu, three or four women started heckling straight away, seemingly unaware that he's a satirist, not a male chauvinist pig; but of course, by doing so they became part of the show. They practically burst at the line where he says man-flu is worse than childbirth; but butter wouldn't melt in his mouth as he continued the song, halo trembling above his head!
Then it was Martin's turn, and Kenny joined him on stage for some cajun-flavoured old timey music. Martin is part-comedian as well as musician, and the night flowed on as he got people's feet tapping and riffed about the ceiling tiles (expanded polystyrene: we all had them in our kitchens and bathrooms in the 1970s- so modern!). Kenny is an exceptional fiddle player with the essential improviser's skill of knowing how to finish a line elegantly. It doesn't matter how good a soloist someone is, if you can't 'end' well, you unravel the song.
After the interval, Kenny did some songs and I sang a couple, then the trio came back on again. Martin did a lovely version of Rain, then the whole evening ended with a walkabout version of Will The Circle Be Unbroken. Thanks to the promoter Paul for organising such a rip-roarer of a night!

1 comment:

frayedattheedge said...

When I was little, we went on a trip to Rothesay, oin the paddle steamer the 'Jeanie Deans'. My main memory is of being sh*t on by the seagulls!!