Gig: Robin Guthrie – Glasgow, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, 15/08/2007

This was billed as “an intimate gig” and so it proved to be with only around 30 punters present in the candlelit basement at Sleazy’s. The only prevoius time I’d seen Robin Guthrie was seven years ago at a show at Manchester’s Contact Theatre (with Sigur Ros, Labradford, David Pajo and Pole – what a line-up!). That set had consisted of him playing guitar instrumentals for half an hour assisted by a battery of pedals. Tonight wasn’t hugely different, although there was a DVD projection and laptop accompaniment. There are shades of the Cocteau Twins in the music, but it’s only really reminiscent of his previous band when the tinny drum programs kick in on several of the tunes. The rest of the time the music has a Resonant resonance, with swathes of sound enveloping fairly simple guitar lines.

Sometimes I look at artists like Guthrie, Yellow 6 and Ulrich Schnauss and wonder how they get away with it. The core of the music is so simple, and yet beefed up with a battery of effects, it becomes something otherworldly. It does seem that it would be a piece of piss to play, though. Still, some things are easy to do, but not necessarilly easy to do well. The trick in this kind of music is not what to play, but what not to play and when not to play it. It’s a trick that Robin Guthrie has been adept at for a quarter of a century. Tonight he gave a masterclass in minimalism and restraint. It was really sublime stuff.

Celeb watchers may like to note that Scotland alt-football hero Pat Nevin was down tonight.

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