by / February 1st, 2010 /

Hamel, The Dirty Demographic & Leddra Chapman – King Tut’s, Glasgow

King Tut’s is one of those venues that – whether or not you’ve ever been to Glasgow – you should probably know. True, it’s smaller than an average school hall and doesn’t even have a back stage area, but it also has its own branded beer (at only £2.75 a pint, too) and has hosted a truly preposterous number of major musical names. Just this coming month they’re expecting Beach House, Fionn Regan, The Undertones and Spoon, all of whom will almost certainly proclaim their deep love of the venue and spend hours after their sets signing autographs and chatting to the friendly throng. At least if tonight’s anything to go by.

Lothian lad Ewan Butler opens proceedings with a laid back set of emotional (if forgettable) Neil-Young-influenced acoustic tracks, before tall Londoner Leddra Chapman (complete with full on indie-kid backing band) takes her turn under the lights. Leddra’s music is heavy on the vocals, which manage to be simultaneously delicate and domineering. She’s backed by a funky fusion of guitars, violin and cajon (an Afro-Peruvian instrument like a drum, that’s played by tapping on different parts of the face of a wooden box). It’s a combo that adds a much-needed unusual twist to her sound, with the cajon in particular introducing most of the audience to a memorable new sound. A dazzling cover of MGMT’s -Time To Pretend’ tops off a superlative performance, after which 18-year-old Leddra must have made her gig fee again in flogging CDs, everyone of which she insisted on signing. She’ll go a long way if she continues to show such enticing originality.

The Dirty Demographic, tonight’s penultimate act, seems to have bought an enthusiastic crowd of local fans with them, and quickly justify the gusto. Blending jazz with infectious pop hooks, and smiling the night away, The Dirty Demographic are spiced up with co-ed vocals. They bring together a flamboyant selection of tracks that sample from both The Calling and Louis Armstrong, a fair indication of their blended influences. While lead vocalist Angus is the very definition of geek cool, his female accompaniment Stef adds vocals that seem beyond the reach of such a tiny lass. DD’s take on jazz is enviably fresh.

Dutchmen Hamel, then, is left to close the party. The jazz star is apparently so big in Japan that he needs to travel with bodyguards, but while his music is tight, it’s also incredibly laidback and frequently edges into -lounge music’ territory. Think -Under The Sea’ from The Little Mermaid, mixed with the occasional hint of mellow soul. Hamel drifts, and so do the crowd, most of them to the bar or off home. A classic case of the headliner being well and truly outclassed by some sparkling support acts.

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This show was part of the Celtic Connections festival:

  • lindsey

    Hi! Loved that night. Leddra was amazing. But i don’t agree on the Hamel part. The support had his own fanbase, that’s why people left. The people who stayed enjoyed big time. It’s subtle, i agree, but unique, groovy and edgy at times i think, but that’s a matter of taste i guess. The people of Dirty Demographic seemed to enjoy Hamels thing, like i did. kudos for the review anyhow. cheers. lin.

  • Joanne

    Thanks for the review it was a good night! I came specially to see Leddra -have been listening to her music non stop for two weeks the album is amazing and well supported by Radio 2. she was great and she signed my CD!!

  • Yeah, I spoke to Leddra and she was raving about Hamel. Just didn’t do it for me at all, but it’s all a matter of opinion, of course. I agree that a few people were there just for the support, but most of them stayed for the start of Hamel, I just think they werent engaged enough to bother staying. It was my first time visiting Glasgow and my first time in King Tut’s (I was back for a far less interesting gig the following night, too – review to follow), and I have to say I love your city, and the people were incredibly welcoming, so thank you! I think we can all agree on one thing: Leddra Chapman is a future star. Wonderful stuff.

  • Lindsey (again)

    Thanks for the reply. I love my city, although i’m from Kopenhagen originally.

    I think the problem was the line up. It didn’t serve Hamel well. I’ve seen Melody Gardot a couple of times, once in a similar situation, with the wrong line up, she lost me. But i saw her again in the right venue and no support, i was completely mesmerized. You might have missed the last bit of the Hamel show.. That was engaging big time, at least for me and the others singing his song ‘See You Once Again’ after the show.

    Leddra is great indeed, not completely my cup for a whole show, but lovely songs.

    Hope you’ll enjoy our city again real soon!


    PS: check YouTube for Hamel live in the right setting.. I’m hooked since i’ve seen him live 🙂

  • richard

    Agree with Lindsey, Hamel was completely different from Leddra but he grew on me! His band is great, it is all very musical, very tuned in! Had a great time!

  • Chris

    I went to this gig by chance- was looking what was on and was interested to see Leddra who Id heard on the radio.
    For me it was all good, I missed the first act so cant comment on Ewan, but Hamel was great- A Dutch Jamie Cullum, a bit cheesier but he will have a hit in this country soon i’m sure.
    Dirty Demographic- great set, obviously brought a good local crowd with them- really made me smile.
    The real star though was Leddra, its not just the voice and the looks-she is gorgeous-but the songwriting from an obviously talented musician. I’ve bought the album since- its really very very good- lets hope she comes back to Glasgow soon!

    Chris Gladstone