Stevie Nimmo @ Cottiers 10/3/17
Stevie Nimmo Trio @ Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow
The hometown boy returns as part of his Sky Won’t Fall tour and he brings a blues double bill to the beautiful Cottiers Theatre, an old church that has to be one of the most impressive venues in Glasgow.
Tonight was about a few firsts for me, the venue for one which is absolutely stunning(check out the photos). Glasgow is fit to bursting with music halls and as much as places like The Hydro, SECC and The Armadillo have their places gimme an old venue any day of the week. My favourite place in the whole world was The old lady herself in The Glasgow Apollo, she was steeped in history and as much as I loved her she was battered and bruised, a crumbling wreck with an upper balcony that moved so much it scared the shit out of you. These are the places that make memories…the only ones you get from venues nowadays is “can you believe how much it is for a drink”. Glasgow has 3 old churches as venues and every one is very special so make sure you check them out.
The next first for me was the support tonight in Gerry Jablonski & The Electric Band and they impressed me just as much as that church. I keep saying this time and again but blues isn’t my usual gig preference but I keep coming back for more and every time another slice of my soul seems to fill up. Gerry is now part of that history and make up as this band were awesome tonight, They played it slow, they rocked it up and Gerry himself played that guitar as if it was a third arm. He worked the fretboard beautifully and tugged on the heartstrings with ease.
Gerry is backed by a very powerful band with what has to be an exception these days in a full time Harmonica player in Peter Narojczjk. He was front and centre and really went for it. I loved every minute and every song of these boys set with some real highlights in “Angel To Shuffle” and “Hard To Make A Living”. This band is one to watch out for and I will be back for more and very soon I hope.
When it comes to either one of the Nimmo brothers it is guaranteed you will get an amazing show but recently it has been like a wrestling match, I bounce from one of Stevie’s shows to King King and each time I say the other will never top that…and every time I am wrong.
Either brother is treated like a god before a Glasgow audience which does make me chuckle slightly as I remember the days of them playing in bars, the boys having a laugh and swapping instruments but now things are a lot more serious and one hell of a lot more professional. I have watched the audiences grow, the songs improve and each brother take their own path.
So, it is Stevie and his amazingly tight three piece band that are going to blow my mind tonight. If you have not heard the band’s latest album why not? There are plenty out there who will tell you it was a top 5 blues release of 2016 and it is certainly one of mine, it is so varied and unusual in parts that from my first listen I was blown away and happily we get a good helping on display tonight.
The band walk out to rapturous cheers and break straight into “Roll The Dice” and immediately stevie snaps a guitar string to bass player Matt Beable’s amusement( I think I am putting that lightly as he could hardly breathe). Afterwards Stevie lets us know that it was Matt who jinxed the whole thing so I wonder if there were some wire cutters involved but Stevie played on without missing a beat.
Next is “Still Hungry” and Stevie didn’t even bother to change his guitar but this heavy assed riffer of a song just needed attitude and the song carries a story of leaner times for Stevie so like the song…he wasn’t going to give up. As Stevie wraps that one up he decides to change giutars so we get a little chat and here comes the Glasgow banter as Stevie says he is going to play another song from the most recent album and somebody in the audience shouts play Roll The Dice( The first song in the set), Stevie just laughs and says where were you I have done that one as the obvious(?) response comes back well play it again, yes, you have to love a Glasgow crowd anytime but if its a weekend you best be prepared.
That set the tone for the night, the humour was there and the songs were just beautiful. For me one of my favourite tracks is the band’s cover of “ Gamblers Roll”. Stevie just owns the sleepy guitar and his voice plays it to perfection. Now after that track I would have been happy to leave but I was in for the biggest surprise in my life as he played another cover. Stevie told us he always has to tell the full story behind the song when he plays this abroad as nobody knows who sang the original but he is in Glasgow and I bet many of the people in this hall have seen local hero and sadly no longer with us. Big George & The Business were local legends, they were many people’s first taste of blues and Stevie readily admits it was his. What happened next left me gobsmacked and spellbound all in one( If you do not believe me check out the video).
I witnessed 10 of the most incredible minutes of my life as Stevie played “The Storm” and I have never seen anything like that performance and I have seen George play the original and I know he would have been smiling down tonight with that rendition.
This was an incredible night all round and Alan, get your thinking hat on for May as this is going to take some beating.
Images, video and review Ritchie Birnie
Stevie Nimmo Trio @ Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow