Amelia Curran - O2 ABC
Live Review

Amelia Curran – O2 ABC, Glasgow

Last night’s show from Glasgow’s annual Celtic Connections festival had a decidedly North American feel, with Canada’s Amelia Curran playing a fine set on a bill that also included Americans Ted Leo and Aimee Mann.

Ted Leo was first on stage. His rocking solo songs were accompanied by rhythmic electric guitar and the occasional short solo. The vocals were smooth and expressive although his style seemed more suited to a full band. Aimee Mann joined him, initially on bass for The Gambler, where the harmony vocals worked well. Mann then switched to acoustic guitar for one more song. The pair are working together on an EP at present and that should be an interesting release.

Amelia Curran strolled onto stage with her acoustic guitar and simply began to play with no fuss. Opening with Years, the first track on her soon to be released album Spectators, her warm vocals were evocative and emotional. Moving quickly to the first single to come from the album, Blackbird On Fire, she again delivered her poetic and highly expressive lyrics in fine style. An opening trio of lovely songs was completed by older track The Mistress, which tells of a love affair going wrong in heartbreaking style.

The large crowd inside the hall responded well to the music, listening largely in a respectful silence, with the level of applause noticeably growing after each song. Without any backing, Curran carried the audience along nicely, pulling them into the worlds she creates in her songs, with her strong voice rising when it needed to punch home a message. She is much more than a folk singer, the depth of her lyrics and the quality of her voice demonstrating a real talent for love songs.

Several new tracks followed, the fine ballad What Will You Be Building and slower track The Modern Man with a long guitar intro among the highlights. And on The Great Escape, the slightly husky edge to Curran’s strong voice seemed more pronounced, adding yet another layer of emotion to her fine performance.

Before the closing song Curran thanked the crowd, explaining that she was a little intimidated by the size of the audience and had therefore talked much less than usual. It was a measure of her performance that the response was sympathetic. San Andreas Fault ended the too short set, the quite beautiful love song delivered in a slower tone, with real feeling coming through. It was a fitting way to end what had been a very good set. And the audience gave a great reception as she left the stage.

Aimee Mann and her band delivered a decent set. She is a confident performer, playing acoustic guitar and backed by a band of good musicians. Her voice was smooth and even as she played a number of older tracks, her bluesy pop style warm and engaging. But it was current single Labrador that got the loudest cheer, showing that her new material is going down well with her fans too.

This was a fine night of music, very much enjoyed by a near capacity crowd. Amelia Curran’s strong performance will have delighted her fans amongst the audience and I’m sure that many who came to see Aimee Mann will be checking out her music too.

Venue: O2 ABC, Glasgow
Support Band: Ted Leo, Aimee Mann

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