Bela and Iain Archer (4 stars)

Brel, Glasgow, Wed 20 Jun


Glasgow-based Icelandic singer/songwriter Bela’s debut album Ticket for a Train didn’t enjoy anything like the response its fantastically warm, woozy folk pop merited upon release a year ago. Watching him pick away contently at an acoustic guitar in the Brel conservatory on a clammy summers evening, with just the smooth, sympathetic glissandi of a lap pedal steel in accompaniment, however, you can’t help but feel that had one or a million people bought the record he’d still be just as effecting. There’s a depth and skill to his songs that can’t be understated.

Perfect stuff, then, for supporting an Ivor Novello award winner no less. As a one-time member of Snow Patrol, Northern Irishman Iain Archer penned part of the band’s stellar breakthrough LP Final Straw, and has the gong to prove it. Now pursuing a solo career, his output is much less stadium sized, comprising instead more modest, earthy indie folk. Acoustic versions of timeless ode ‘I Wasn’t Drinkin’ But You Got Me Drunk’, and hairs-on-the-neck raising barnstormer ‘When it Kicks In’ suggested his mantelpiece might not even be full yet.

(Malcolm Jack)


39–43 Ashton Lane, Glasgow, G12 8SG

Boasting a bar, intimate conservatory and expansive beer garden, this Ashton Lane institution serves 60 world beers and a menu of mussels, fondue and burgers.

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