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.