Thursday, November 16, 2006

Annika, Hello Saferide, Bobby Bluebell and a great big huge lump of red sandstone

Great time last night at the Hello Saferide gig - The Hold, in the basement of the Admiral Bar in Waterloo Street, Glasgow, is a great wee venue. Civilised. Which at my age is important. Though whether or not it was civilised to drink so much Knob Creek whisky is quite another matter. Splendid seafood meal previously at the Mussel Inn, too. Great Muscadet!
Annika Norlin and her six-piece band were magnificent. Maia Hirasawa was one of the support acts (guess what? Swedish too!) as well as being (sorry, can't help but say this) the Agnetha to Annika's Anna-Frid in the Hello Saferide live manifestation. And Maia was breathtakingly good in a completely solo performance, dressed like some kind of prim Scando-pop schoolteacher.
The Norlin songs - twisted, witty, bittersweet pop classics - work brilliantly live, especially given Annika's quite unexpected facial mugging and actor-ish timing. There's something very knowing about the whole thing in an early Blondie sort of way. I loved it in a way I haven't enjoyed live pop for years.
Took me back decades, in fact. But not as bizarrely as walking in to see support act The Poems (Glaswegian, not Swedish). Was there a Bobby Bluebell revival occurring? That look - the black polo neck, the glasses - could it really be back? Did it ever go away? Closer inspection revealed that this timewarped apparition was in fact the man himself, my old acquaintance Robert Hodgens, apparently unchanged in 20 years. After his set, we nattered away like it was 1986, shouting in each other's lugs in that time-honoured rock-club-deaf-as-a-post manner. 'You look just the same' said Robert. 'Aye, sure' I replied. Unwilling to say that he truly did look just like he did back in the days of, well Young At Heart...the Poems were very good, by the way. See that rock star lifestyle? Must be good for you. Or maybe it's the golf...
(Just done a bit of checking, and it seems Poems lead singer Kerry is the wee sister of Karine Polwart.)
Great too to see Grangemouth Guru of All Things Rocktastic, Lindsay Hutton, just as enthusiastic as I am about Hello Saferide, if not more so. We nod our grey heads sagely and predict great things: folks, make it happen for Annika!
Oh, and that lump of red sandstone? I'm in Beanscene, staring out at the Kelvingrove art gallery. To which I'm awa' the noo.

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