MUMMY SHORT ARMS
MUMMY SHORT ARMS @ The Captain’s Rest, Glasgow – 18th May 2012
If seeing is believing … then I believe!!
Like a zealot preacher, James Allan, frontman of Glasgow seven-piece MUMMY SHORT ARMS tonight reaffirms the believers and converts the agnostics with a superb up-tempo and soulful fifty-minute set in celebration of the release of the band’s debut album ‘Old Jack’s Windowless Playhouse.’
Of course, it’s not just all about James – the rest of the band are as equally magnificent, if a little more laconic and less extrovert. It’s easy to see that these guys have known each other since their school days and have played together for several years. They have a quiet assuredness about them, and boy, are they tight?! The couple of little technical issues are met with rueful smiles, and even the (seemingly) electrical shocks experienced by the guy on acoustic guitar / synth are more a source of mirth rather than concern!
But there’s no getting away from it, yer man James is the focus of most attention. I have previously described his vocal style as being a hybrid Captain Beefheart and Tom Waits on speed. Having now experienced a live set, I am leaning more towards the latter – with the description perhaps being further enhanced with the letters A.D.H.D!
The three quarters capacity crowd are treated pretty much to the whole album with a couple of old / new (?) songs thrown in – the one immediately prior to ‘Whisky Avalanche,’ being a particular rocker, inducing some of those in attendance to really let rip.
Throughout, James throws his increasingly sweat-infused long hair back over his head, gesticulates wildly with his hands, sways his hips and sort of runs on the spot; sometimes all at the same time. Sometimes even while playing the harmonica! It’s all quite a visual contrast to the more studious and concentrated expressions of the other six.
But there is a definite chemistry amongst those on stage, one that easily transmits to the audience.
MUMMY SHORT ARMS have been a little late to the table with their debut album, holding off until they felt they could capture their live performance on a recording and certainly that’s the impression you get when listening through it. But I’ll tell you what – ‘live’ they are quite explosive … their sound zips up and out and all over the place, and it could just be that capturing all that energy may prove as difficult as knitting Scotch mist!
On this performance I’m more confident than ever that despite the name, MUMMY SHORT ARMS are perfectly equipped to reach out to bigger and wider audiences.