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Review

Hazy Recollections - King Tuts - 27/01/19


"Hazy Recollections returns to Celtic Connections in new home King Tuts, with Quick, Cara Rose, Lucas & King, Megan Airlie and Barrie-James ONeill. "

 

Review by Graham McCusker
Posted on 2019-01-28 22:49:33
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One of the staples of the Celtic Connections line-up, Hazy Recollections has moved to a new home this year in King Tuts. Arguably it could not be more of an appropriate setting for the new talent showcase, given the rich history of the venue. Now hosted by veteran singer-songwriter Michael Cassidy, this afternoon, we are treated to intimate sets from Quick, Cara Rose, Megan Airlie, Barrie James O’Neill and the traditional specially-curated mystery act, which is a Hazy Recollections standard.

Multi-national five-piece Quick open the show to a packed venue. From the off, they deliver glorious harmonies and the violin on ‘Never Heard A Voice Like Yours Before’ provides a distinctly apt Celtic slant. The highlight of their set comes when they huddle round one microphone for an impromptu ‘Crazy Grace’ highlighting the prowess of vocalists Alex Hynes, Emily Barr and Willem McKie. They announce that as they are performing as part of Celtic Connections, they needed to perform something with Celtic origin, and proceed to end their set with a brooding cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Dancing in The Moonlight’.

There is little more than a pause for breath before the wonderful Cara Rose takes to the stage. Armed with just a piano and an exquisite voice, she wows the King Tuts crowd with her soulful voice. Rose is reminiscent of the classic powerhouse vocalists like Aretha Franklin but offers a thoroughly modern twist. ‘Learn to Speak’ is a classic in waiting, and shows the same promise that Adele did before she shot to worldwide fame. It wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility that Rose will be doing the same in the not-too-distant future.

There is veritable intrigue for this afternoon’s mystery guests, who are pleasantly revealed to be Southampton’s Lucas & King. The duo are a delight, performing a set of 60’s-inspired melancholy, and in vocalist Bo Lucas, they have a wonderful voice that is part-Lana Del Rey, part-Nina Persson of The Cardigans. Hayleigh Lucas’ shimmering guitar lines may be a little one-dimensional but work well alongside songs about existential crisis and ominous lyrics like “I’m treacherous, don’t call my bluff”.

We return a little closer to home as Glaswegian Megan Airlie follows. Tipped for big things over the last twelve months, following a number of releases on Bloc Music Records, she more than justifies the hype surrounding her with a mesmerising set. Airlie states that she’s nervous, but you would never have guessed as she enthrals the crowd with her self-deprecating humour, but the material performed today is no joke. ‘After River’, her debut single, is a Nick Drake-esque masterpiece, and elsewhere in the set she channels classic jazz, and Jeff Buckley (she slips a few lines of ‘Grace’ into her set). An entertaining version of ‘Everybody Wants to Be A Cat’ lightens the mood, before she closes with a debut airing of ‘Cardamom’, which unleashes her powerful voice one last time.

Airlie is a tough act to follow, but if anyone can do so, it’s former Kassidy frontman Barrie-James O’Neill who closes this afternoon’s show. The singer-songwriter is always a captivating performer, and his performance today is no different. Starting the set on keys (borrowed from Cara Rose), he begins with material from his debut solo record ‘Cold Coffee’. O’Neill’s raspy drawl suits the intimate, melodic nature of his songs and ‘Pictures’ is an early highlight. The Glaswegian switches to guitar as he treats the King Tuts audience with two tracks from his forthcoming sophomore record ‘Psychedelic Soup’, including ‘A Little Hungover’ which hints that the new material will be more of the same standard of his previous releases. O’Neill apologises for hitting some bum notes, saying “sorry about the fuck-ups, at least it’s real”, but all is forgiven as he delivers a tender falsetto on the closing ‘Angel Tears’, which ends with the heart-breaking lyric “you hate me, I hate you”.

Another Hazy Recollections is over and has once again delivered a terrific standard of diverse acts in an intimate setting. With the likes of Sturgill Simpson, Rachel Sermanni and The Staves all having played the showcase before and gone on to bigger and better things, it would hardly be a surprise if any of those on show from this bill go onto megastardom.



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