Tinariwen - Oran Mor, Glasgow, Thu 5 Apr 2012
An evocative but occasionally flat show from the Tuareg blues guitarists
A beguiling mix of blues guitar sounds, gently insistent but sometimes complex rhythms and desert sensibilities is what’s always made Tinariwen unique. Live, the blend is all the more compelling, which must be due, at least in part, to the sheer strangeness of seeing these Tuareg men, who come from a place where civil strife is more urgently real than most of the assembled could begin to imagine, resplendent in their colourful robes, crammed onto a stage in the dark, low-roofed Glasgow basement.
Bendy guitar hooks and hand-claps build into those propulsive, at times almost trance-inducing rhythms, peppered with good-humoured exchanges of ‘ça va? – oui, ça va!’ with the crowd and the infectious smiles and dancing of one member in particular. The three-song encore eclipses the rest of the – at times slightly samey – set with a true display of the diversity this band is capable of: from a breathtaking acoustic solo of ‘Tenhert’ with its strikingly nimble guitar work and fast-spoken, almost rap-like vocals, via a haunting vocal harmony chant, to a finale in full-on, animated desert rock mode, it’s a satisfying end to an evocative but occasionally flat show.