A hot Summers evening in Glasgow in July (I know I can’t believe I typed that either). Now picture the scene its glorious blue skies, not a cloud to be seen and the CIMV team are waiting to interview the self-proclaimed “Giant Leprechaun” that is Eric Paslay and then his opening act, UK Country artist Lisa Wright. When in ambles this gentle giant or 5ft 16ins as he described it later on stage, apologising for being late and full of handshakes and hugs.
Anyway I digress. Eric first performed in the UK late 2017 and was adored by the audiences in Liverpool, London and of course Glasgow. So back he came for three dates in those cities. A special treat for Glasgow and much to the honour of the sold out crowd at Broadcast he also chose that venue to film and record the gig live. Stating the feeling and reception he received in Glasgow first time round made the decision that if ever he was recording that was the place to do it. Well done Scottish Country fans, living up to our warm welcome reputation.
So a packed out, ridiculously hot basement venue in Broadcast on Sauchiehall St in Glasgow, the crowd waited patiently for the support act to start, many commenting on how low the roof was and how was someone of Eric’s size going to avoid a head injury. Honestly I was concerned too, the cladding padding was tough to see in the dark and didn’t look like it would provide much protection.
Lisa Wright, the support act, had no worries about needing the padding as at a diminutive 5ft she was safer than most. Now this bubbly, highly confident and massively talented artist gripped the crowd straight away showing off her Scottish Country Mafia badge and mentioning them in her opening words, to a huge cheer. Flowing from her speaking voice with a strong Essex accent she smoothly and impressively transcended into this song bird singing voice that made me stop and try to figure who I could relate her too and there is someone but for the life of me I couldn’t get the name as she kept bringing me back into the room and focus on her and her musicality. Describing her music as melancholy and making the crowd laugh by telling them it was time for her happy song…… “Before I Die”. Yes it was Acoustic and yes it was melancholy but more importantly its was excellent, well written, beautifully sung and powerfully delivered. This young artist is setting her stall out and has a long way to go with her career and she is doing what country song writers do best, writing from the heart and her experiences. To date these have been difficult and sad for her but the happy times are yet to come and if the songs equal the sad ones we are in for a treat. I commented that she reminded me of a lone female i saw a few years ago supporting The Band Perry, another diminutive blonde powerhouse who stunned me that night as well, who you ask? Lindsay Ell. They share the aspect of owning the room and making people listen.
Getting the crowd singing along with a cover of Cyndi Laupers ‘True Colours’ was a shining moment but for me the stand out was her latest release ‘Tennessee’ I’ve heard the track and played it a few times on the show but hearing it live she has a tremendous tone and emotion. She is definitely one to watch for the future.
After a slightly delayed start and some sound issues for those in the back of the room. Eric and his band hit their stride hard. Even though the sound was being worked on you could see from the get go that they were to party. The set itself included not just Eric’s released music but also songs that he written or co-written :- Jake Owens ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night’ Love and Thefts ‘Angel Eyes’ and the Will Hoge/Eli Young Band song “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and the crowd lapped it up and sang along and danced away. His own material went down just as well with standouts being his latest release ‘Young Forever’, ‘Angels In This Town’, ‘High Class’ with the added shades in the dark (which some of the crowd donned theirs as well), his best-selling single to date and anthemic ‘Friday Night’.
Then there was a moment that stopped the room on its tracks, the dancing stopped and everyone stood and sang along in true gig ballad style. ‘She Don’t Love You’ showcased everything about him, his writing capabilities, his vocality, his tender side and humanity. It was just one of those moments when it’s over you go ooft and there’s a lump in your throat.
The set itself was the best part of 95 minutes of a man and his band having a great time and flowing from one superbly written song to another. He has had commercial success with his writing and other artists but not so much as a solo artist and i firmly believe that has too and will change soon. The UK and Europe has embraced him and the USA won’t be far behind I feel. If he has that much energy for what is best described as an intimate gig then in front of a larger crowd his entertainment levels would hit the roof. Above all of this he remains a gentleman and someone who genuinely appreciates his fans, continually thanking them and when the set was done taking to the back of the room for selfies and handshakes and hugs.
If you haven’t already checked him out please do, you won’t be disappointed.
A couple of things happened during the night one bringing a wry smile and the other utter irritation.
Do you remember the scene in the film ‘Airplane’ where the hero guy taking over the controls of plane starts sweating profusely, so much so that the water is running off him? Well that was almost reality to some of the attendees. Oh i did smile.
My utter irritation and its one that gets worse by the gig, is the talking by some folk. There was a full-blown conversation going on during the set and not a quiet conversation! No no it was as if this these people believed that the crowd had paid to hear them. Folks if you pay your money, to coin a good Scottish phrase, Haud Yer Wheest (be quiet). Seriously if you want to pay the money and talk then pay it and don’t turn up you would be doing us all a favour.
Special thanks goes to the Scottish Country Mafia for bringing along the chant ‘He’s One Of Our Own, He’s One Of Our Own’ bringing a smile and laugh from Eric with regards to his Ancestory but also for my badge, I shall wear it with pride.