Live Review: Stu Larsen

King Tuts, 22/11

What makes going to gigs worth it is getting to know the person whose music you love just a little bit, hearing their stories and seeing their personality unmediated by social media or official interviews. What makes going to a small gig special is the feeling of intimacy, forgetting that the artist is on stage up there and you are in the audience down here, feeling like you’re in a pub somewhere together instead. Australian folk singer-songwriter Stu Larsen embodies both those points wholly and completely. With his warmth, friendliness and humour, he turns King Tuts on a dreary and cold Glaswegian night into the most cosy place to be.

Glasgow is the second to last stop of Larsen’s European tour that he embarked on on the 19th of September.  Between then and tonight, he travelled about 20000 kilometres, played 48 shows in 26 countries with only a single day off, yet you would think Glasgow was the show he had been looking forward to all year; his energy is unbelievable, showing in the lightness of his feet and the small dances he does, as well as through his enthusiasm in telling stories. Because that’s what Stu Larsen is, first and foremost – a storyteller. The lyrics of his songs are sometimes slightly contrived, but often excellent to sing along too; his stories throughout the gig are even better. While Larsen is from Australia, Glasgow actually features frequently, such as in the story about the long-distance relationship between a guy from Glasgow and a girl from Germany that gets cut short because one of them is in fact in the audience with his new girlfriend. Most hilarious is the tale about the guitar he found in Chicago and fell in love with, painting the lyrics “cause I’ve been looking for a girl like you / to come and travel with a boy like me / would you come and sing a little melody?” of ‘Chicago Song’ in a completely different light.

That there are too many white men with guitars playing folk music and wearing retro flat caps to count is exemplified by Larsen’s two support acts – Jed Appleton and Tim Hart – playing pretty similar music as he does, but his tangible enjoyment in performing is what sets him apart. And it ensures that I, and most of the audience with me, spend the whole evening with a smile on our faces.  

[Aike Jansen]

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