It’s Saturday night in Glasgow, and a packed Hug & Pint awaits Jonnie Common on night three of his four-date tour promoting new single, Restless (Song, By Toad Records).
It’s one of the stranger Saturday night gigs I’ve been to recently as the live performance shares its bill with a live screening of another piece of work Common has recently finished, composing music for a one-off BBC TV programme with poet Ross Sutherland called Missing Episode.
The man himself also notes it’s quite strange and worthy of a straw poll mid-gig to see if anyone is going to stay around to watch it.
Anyway, the music, the music…
The greatest thing (for me at least) about seeing Jonnie perform new material is trying to take everything on board at first listen. There is so much happening at any one time, the arrangements, the melodies, the structures, the instrumentation and perhaps most importantly, his lyrics.
Over the years, and last two albums in particular, Common has crafted some perfectly skewed pop and with more than half of the set tonight comprising new material, we are treated to some of what’s sure to be in store for album number three.
The single itself is dropped into the middle of the set after some new (Wood for Trees) and older songs (Crumbs) have the attentive crowd getting into the feel good spirit of it. As it turns out, it’s the only song of the set where the dynamics change from the synth/electronic feel to something a little more stripped back. With a quick shout out to the self employed, Jonnie’s simple guitar line, Peter Kelly’s drums and Gav Thompson’s trumpet do more than enough to showcase Common’s songwriting skills and knack for an earworm. He did mention the album version will be completely different but we get to enjoy it in its laid back style for this one performance at least.
A relaxed Jonnie appears to enjoy the performance as much as we punters do, chatting between songs and giving his usual banter as he flies through the rest of the set. Ever aware of getting done in time for the live screening, he finishes up with two new songs back to back (although we are treated to an encore of Better Man from Trapped in Amber) before he jumps off stage and sets up the projector for the show.
For more on Jonnie Common and his tour click here.