Songhoy Blues - QMU - 24/01/19

25 Jan 2019 , Review by Graham McCusker

Songhoy Blues - QMU - 24/01/19

Masterclass in musicianship from Malian superstars

Malians Songhoy Blues have come a long way since they were exiled from their homes as a result of civil war. Having now released two full-length records of “desert blues”, they return to Glasgow with the backing of none other than Iggy Pop, who contributed backing vocals on the four-piece’s most recent release ‘Rèsistance’.

From the off, Songhoy Blues are clearly here for a party. Before a note is even played, frontman Aliou Toure politely requests the crowd take their jackets off and it doesn’t take long to see why. The fact that the band had to flee their hometown as music was banned is made even more of an abomination considering how much they ooze talent. Lead guitarist Garba Toure delivers riffs and solos throughout the set, taking in a mixture blues, funk and rock and roll influences. He is a virtuosic guitarist, given free rein to let loose by one of the tightest rhythm sections around in Oumar Toure and Nathanael Dembele.

The real star of the show, however, is lead vocalist Aliou. A charismatic and engaging frontman, he captivates the audience with incredible dance moves at numerous points during the show and leads a mass singalong on ‘Sahara’. He is perhaps the one person in the venue that is enjoying the show more than the crowd. Toure also uses his position to promote positivity. He talks of promoting love and unity through the power of music and manages to do so without turning all Bono on us.

After a question as to whether the crowd is starting to tire is met with a resounding “NO!”, the four-piece launch into an extended ‘Sobour’, bolstered by dirtier guitar riffs, and sends the Glaswegian audience into a frenzy. They leave the stage after a whirlwind ninety-minute set, provoking near-riots when they do not reappear for an encore.

Songhoy Blues have garnered a reputation for providing an excellent live show, and despite touring these shores often, crowds keep flocking to see them in numbers. On the basis of the show this evening, it’s easy to see why.


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Review - Songhoy Blues - QMU - 24/01/19 - Glasgowmusic.co.uk