Mrs H and I went up to the village of Birnam last night to catch Irish folk singer/guitarist Luka Bloom on the latest leg of his four-date Scottish tour. In the days running up to the gig there was some doubt as to whether or not it would go ahead - or whether it would fall victim to an unfortunate resurfacing of Luka's hand-injury which put paid to some of the planned English dates. As there are not that many bands that we both like - and would want to go and hear, we were both delighted that he was going to be playing a local gig, as we have enjoyed his songs since we first heard 'The Acoustic Motorbike' back in 1996.
The gig got off to a slow start, Bloom not starting with his strongest material, but starting with a track that was a protest song - relevant to that days news. His voice sounded OK, but clearly wasn't warmed up well, although he was playing confidently, indicating that the hand-tendon problem which has plagued his career, had completely settled down. From then on however the gig got better and better, -perhaps Luka Bloom knows that he is a slow-starter, which is why he apologised for the lack of an interval but just kept going!
With a mixture of his own haunting songs, unique guitar sound and his trade-mark re-interpretations of a whole host of songs in an Irish-folk genre (including rap, and rock-songs!), the evening grew in enjoyment as it went on. Luka Bloom enjoys a good chat with the crowd in between songs too, always quirky, often funny and enjoying some interaction with the crowd too. Various people called out song names for him to sing, when one bloke yelled, "I Need Love", he just replied, "I appreciate the sentiment - but you're not my type".
It was a really good night out - he's definitely worth hearing if you are in Glasgow in the next few days. Birnam Institute is a quiet little venue, and the crowd were rather subdued. On a couple of occasions the audience were a little intrusive - the worst of which was when two women had a 'heated debate' audible to the whole audience and artist about whether one of them was filming the gig or not! Perhaps the Oran Mor will have a better audience!
Here's Luka Bloom with a clip I found on YouTube (not recorded at the gig!!), performing Primavera. Fabulous!