Sunday, 2 October 2011

Gig Review - Lou Hicky @ Crofthead Bowling Club

"I never thought I'd be playing a gig in Neilston", muses Lou Hickey midway through her hometown gig. Neither did I expect to be attending a gig in Neilston, but such is life!

The night's show was part of a wider Neilston Live! initiative which runs each year in the village. Having toured as one half of the successful Codeine Velvet Club, and recently putting out her own EP, 'Minutes, Hours, Days', having Lou Hickey perform at a local bowling club is a pretty big coup.

The support was offered by another local artist Sean Gilles, a.k.a. The Lonely Boy. However due to my notorious tardiness, I missed most of his set. Rumour had it that it was a good performance, and I'm willing to go along with that on the basis of the last song 'End Of The Line' which culminated with frantic strumming his acoustic guitar.

Being a village bowling club, it would be wrong not to take advantage of the cheap drink on offer. 10 minutes and a fresh pint later Lou Hickey, backed by a full band, takes to the stage. The set kicks off with older track 'Realist Romeo' which has a soft pop backing track and showcases Hickey's vintage voice well. It's an intimate affair and Hickey shows her support to the local community, many of whom I'm sure would be unlikely to attend such a gig were it in Glasgow or Edinburgh. Hickey recognised this and is kind to the crowd to throw in some covers throughout the set, the first of which is a cover of John Lennon's '(Just Like) Starting Over'.

Hickey also pays tribute to the fact that many people know her from the Codiene Velvet Club, by treating us to a track that she penned for the band about the 'horrors' of the music industry with a funky bassline that James Brown would have been proud off. Having tipped her hat to the pub where she used to work, and recognising that an audience of Neilstoners is far more rowdy than an audience in Edinburgh, we all get coaxed into some hand claps for the next track. Taken from her latest EP of the same name, 'Minutes, Hours, Days' lifts the tempo and is one of the standout tracks of the evening.

The band were clearly comfortable as the banter onstage flowed towards the bar, with a request for a refill Morgan's & Coke coming from behind the piano. The next track, a smootchy number from the forthcoming album (hopefully 2012), hinted towards Hickey's love of blues, jazz and burleqsue. And whilst we are in this 'bluesy' mood, the band decide the time is right for some freestyle jazz indulgence. Their cover of 'Summertime' treats us to smokey vocals, sexy sax solo, and a kickass bass solo. 

It's time for an onstage switch, which see's Hickey take place behind the piano, and our first trumpet track of the night. A more songs, infused with what the band define as 'Gay Jazz', and it's time for another cover, this time from 50's rocker Jerry Lee Lewis. 'Great Balls Of Fire' get's the crowd fired up for the home stretch. 'Waiting For The Night' and 'Are We In Love?' take us through to the theatrical part, where we 'pretend' the band leave the stage and return for their well deserved encore.

Again, tipping her hat to the success of CVC, Hickey plays a solo version of the track which still earns her money, 'Vanity Kills', and it's a lovely stripped back piano driven version, showcasing Hickey's undoubtedly strong vocals. It's now time for everyone in Neilston under the age of 40 who has had guitar lessons to show some appreciation for the legend that is Mr Hickey, a.k.a. Lou's dad, as he takes the stage for what I'm sure must be a lovely moment. The track is dedicated to her fiancee, and it ends with a suitably classic 60's outro. Next track is another EP track, and also one which Hickey performed live on my show 'Scottish Fiction' on Pulse Community Radio, *shameless plug alert* which you can download for FREE here. 'You!' is another of the set's highlights, and leads us to the last song of the evening which is a cover of a Zombies' song.

Or is it? Somewhat taken back, Hickey returns to the stage for a real encore, and squeezes in one last track, a number she wrote with Jonathan Carr called 'Perfect In Me'. A great end to a great night.

Check out more of Lou Hickey on her website, on Facebook, on Myspace and lastly on Twitter.

Also follow the hyperlinks to check out the Q&A she did for the blog a few weeks back, plus listen to the live session she did for the show on Pulse 98.4 FM, AND download the free 'Scottish Fiction' August EP which features a track from Lou Hickey. Phew!

You can also check out more about The Lonely Boy here. Enjoy!

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