Mad Hatters, Inverness
“This next song is about the breakdown of a family,” singer and spoken word artist Aidan Moffat declares, as he introduces the song Everything Goes from his collaborative album with RM Hubbert Here Lies the Body.
After a pause, he wryly adds, “You having a good weekend, aye?”
The burst of laughter from the packed out Mad Hatters was a cathartic one – on a night filled with such aching songs of longing and melancholy, the jab of humour was more than welcome.
And this was a night that managed to walk that very fine tightrope. Hell, it skipped across it. Here was a show that managed to capture and maintain the evocations of Here Lies the Body – Hubbert’s suspended chords and percussive guitar playing backing Aidan’s timehopping narrative of aching middle-aged lust and fateful encounters – while also offering up a raucous and hugely entertaining live show for those who braved the wastelands of a Sunday night in Inverness.
The night kicked off with a stellar support slot from Siobhan Wilson. Performing solo, all Siobhan needed was herself, her Gretsch electric, a keyboard, and a catalogue of wistful and beautifully-structured folk songs that brought the crowd to a respectful, enraptured silence.
Siobhan was also serving as a singer and bandmember for the main act– reprising the playing and vocals she provided the record, her and Aidan trading lines on set opener Cockcrow.
And it’s an amazing set from the band. Musically tight and dynamic, synths build and swell on She Runs, a burst of static atonal melody menaces Wolves of the Wood, and throughout it all, it’s held together by Aidan’s Falkirk drawl and pinpoint language.
It all comes together and crescendos on Party On – the calypso-esque beat fails to mask the almost fatalist melancholy at the centre of the song. Live it’s a monster, as Aidan pleads, “This sex machine looks knackered but it’s just a little bit of rust.”
The fact that it was introduced with five minutes of hilarious riffing on the topic of Slade just made it all the sweeter.