DAVE ARCARI @ King Tut’s, Glasgow – 1st November 2010
Oh – were it always thus!
Complimentary drinks and snacks for the early arrivals; the headline ‘act’ mingling happily with the guests – the archetypal gregarious host. There is even a half-hour ‘preview’ set, whetting the appetite for what is follow a couple of hours later.
DAVE ARCARI sure knows what side his bread is buttered on (camembert and pickle sandwiches, if you really must know!) and is a master at keeping his fans happy – although his music most certainly stands on its own merits judging from the number of smiling faces throughout the duration of his hour long set.
Tonight’s show is the launch party for Dave’s new album, ‘Devil’s Left Hand’ and here to help celebrate is his long-time Blues Buddy, LEE PATTERSON. Lee, I believe is from Edinburgh and like Dave, performs solo. His style is somewhat more subdued than his pal (that’s Edinburgh for you!) but his take on The Blues is equally compelling as his voice fills the venue, occasionally singing acapella, bar the furious beating of drumsticks against the mic stand. And of course, like most Blues artists, his songs are based on personal experiences – some rather trivial, like watching one particular barmaid ‘sashaying’ her way through a crowd at an American show at which he was playing! Ain’t it strange where we sometimes find inspiration?
So now it’s the man himself. Having returned from a European Tour and travelling back home from a week or so playing various venues in England, Dave explains how his plans for an alcohol-free day have fallen by the way-side, what with an early sound-check and stuff. He’s not so much apologising…… more really just keeping us all informed! He then launches straight into ‘Cotton On My Back’ from the new album before his trademark manic laugh and shout of “Come On!” leads into the next song. (Some ‘reporter, me… I can’t remember what it was!!)
As the set progresses, working its way through in the main, tracks from the two most recent albums, it’s easy to forget that it’s just Dave himself up there on stage as he manages to coax any number of simultaneous sounds from his guitar at any one time. His presence is both menacing and amusing (he looks like a brick shit-house version of Johnny Vegas and frequently engages the audience with his dry West of Scotland humour) as, dressed all in black in stomps around the smallish stage at King Tuts, occasionally motioning towards the crowd, singling out anyone who maintains eye contact for a pointed finger or the ‘threat’ of a guitar held machine-gun style in their direction.
It’s all quite electrifying!
The rather ample glasses of whisky are passed forward throughout the set, but there’s no danger of Dave ‘losing it,’ (he’s a big lad) although towards the end of ‘Texicalli Waltz’ when he ‘waltzes’ across the stage, we are left to wonder how much of the ‘stagger’ is actually part of the act!
The majority of the set comprises Dave’s own compositions although there are a few ‘covers’ thrown in for good measure – like Johnny Cash’s ‘Blue Train’ for instance, which he carries off superbly.
Although DAVE ARCARI is ostensibly a ‘bluesman’ his interpretation has more of an ‘alternative’ or ‘punk’ attitude about it and it is good to see a number of younger faces in the crowd tonight, proving that this blend of Blues at least cannot be stereotypically be condemned as ‘old man’s’ music.
If there’s anyone out there that can drag the Blues kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, DAVE ARCARI is yer man!
(One man, a guitar and a growl! It’s Blues, Captain, but not as we know it!)
Oh – wer