Live Review: Culann

Broadcast – 19/11

Ayrshire is representing in a big way tonight at Irvine boys Culann’s final sold-out show of the year.

Openers When I Was Young are having their first ever gig. They’re definitely facing an unhostile crowd should anything go wrong, but nothing does – and they nail it. Colin Hunter has been on the live scene for long enough to have a confident command of his vocals and has a strong sense of melody. There are promising signs for the fledgling band, with notably strong inter-guitar play – a good start.

Ripley on the other hand will be disappearing for a while due to their drummer “fucking off to CERN.” They have a raw and tight approach, at times punky, at times NME-friendly but always with a heavy focus on vocal lines. Their covers medley was a stand out, and going from Talking Heads into The White Stripes is welcomed by any music fan. Assuming their drummer doesn’t kill us all by creating a black hole, they’ll be welcomed back on their return.

Every sold out show from Culann feels like a triumph and a celebration. It’s tough to remember the last one they played in Glasgow that didn’t sell out, and true enough the room is packed wall to wall.

If “to do a Culann” was a live trope it would mean to play everything louder and faster than on record –  latest single ‘All Reverie’ is familiar enough already to be expected in a setlist, and it’s closing riffs are Mastodon sized when played live. A rare outing of oldie ‘A Lilt From the Hills’ still manages to fit beside more polished materials. Massive tune ‘Beat Your Chest’ becomes positively metal in the live environment.

New track ‘Event Without Experience’ shows an ever increasing knack for finding a melody that gets stuck in your head, and the opening riffs show how tight the band are onstage. Indeed, during an unfortunate technical issue with frontman PJ Kelly’s guitar, the rest of the band have an impromptu jam session that you would have thought appeared on their album.

As the closing a capella tones of ‘Salvation’ ring out, Culann can chalk another one down to a success.

[Scott Wilson – @HeartofFire]

Photo by Andy Mills

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