Catfish @ Nice’N’Sleazys, Glasgow Jan26


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Catfish @ Nice’N’Sleazys, Glasgow


Catfish @ Nice’N’Sleazys, Glasgow


Glasgow tonight was a snowy waste land and although the blizzard may have had an effect on the punters through the door there was no way I was missing this show.

It is not very often I get recommendations I have not heard of but when I clocked about 30 seconds of a Youtube video I was hooked. I may be a rocker right down to my pores but I love my blues and man did this band tick all those boxes.

I actually got in early despite the weather to find the band relaxing and what a lovely bunch of guys(and the lovely merch lady). They may have been relaxed offstage but when they stepped onto that stage that was cast aside and it was four professionals that stood before me and as the blues clicks from “Hit The Ground Running” burst out a smile hit my lips that did not leave my face all night. Then to knock me back even further Matt long opened his mouth and a 60 year old black man who had drank whisky and smoked all his days came flooding through the speakers.

This track is the opener from the amazing(and most recent) album Broken Man. That album is a slice of blues genius and it is loaded with future classics.

Next up we switch vocals and Paul Long steps up from behind his organ to sing “Never Go Back”( and hey, I am not daft…I am not mentioning age this time). His sound is vocally similar, maybe not as husky but it fits perfect and it is great to see the vocals being shared.

Next up is the title track from previous release “ So Many Roads” and the tact was changed in a matter of seconds. Everything slowed down and your heartbeat slows as you feel the pain that only blues can provide. You can feel the loss through each guitar stroke, each lyric and each ivory tinkled. This is blues at is best(well, that is what I thought at the time. I was soon proved wrong).

The pace is back up with “Lead Me On” and I am sorry, I cannot help but draw comparison to Joe Bonamassa, a man who is one of my heroes. It has his crunches, his pace, his talent and in spades. As I watch this band in a small hall in Glasgow I cannot help but think there must be a parallel universe somewhere where Catfish are playing arenas and Joe is playing for whisky…that is the only way there can be justice in this world but to be fair I saw Joe many years ago on a ferry in Glasgow so everything is possible.

Tonight I am in hog heaven and each song takes me on a journey which lead to blues gold in “Broken Man”. I do not know where to begin with this whisky drenched blues, southern gem. I have seen a lot of the blues greats. My favourite, local sons of King King have been my go too band for many a year. The Nimmo brothers grew up just 7 miles from my door and I have watched them grow and mature into two of the best blues rock bands in the world and this song and its guitar work took me back to seeing those boys in pubs and standing in awe. This 8 minute piece of genius took me even further back to watching Rory Gallacher rip his battered and bruised fender strat to pieces in front of my eyes…that is the effect this song had on me.

I honestly thought that was it, pinnacle of the night right there but I was so wrong. The band finished up with 14 minutes of slow assed brilliance in “Make It Rain”. The final song on Broken Man is so good it should be illegal, how can four instruments and one voice from heaven churn your heart and squeeze every ounce of hurt from your soul? The guitar work is beautiful, especially when the volume is dipped on the stage till there is no electrification…a trick Alan Nimmo has been doing for years. It grabs every audience member, there is none of the usual chatter, pure silence and baited breath waiting for the volume to go back up and when it does oh my god. I have not heard a better blues song in the last 10 years, it is just heart wrenchingly beautiful.

I walked out of that venue into a blizzard with my mouth open and a wow on my tongue. Sitting here writing this listening to the album I am still in shock at how good this band are and if they do not break massively I will be stunned beyond belief.


Images and words Ritchie Birnie




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