Richard Dawson - Glad Cafe, Glasgow, Sat 21 Sep 2013 (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

Richard Dawson - Glad Cafe, Glasgow, Sat 21 Sep 2013

credit: Nigel Forster

Tyneside hero light years away from your average earnest troubadour

The British folk tradition continues to be a rich source of inspiration for artists raised in the experimental underground. There's little direct reference to the tradition in Howie Reeve's opening set, but there's a case for arguing that his conversational snapshots and prog-punk bass runs are a kind of DIY folk music. Rafe Fitzpatrick (fiddle wiz for Tattie Toes and Alasdair Roberts) and dada percussionist Fritz Welch explode folk forms in a superb set of clatter and saw, suggesting a weirdo UK improv take on the free-jazz violin of the late, great Billy Bang.

Bushy of beard and childlike of gait, Tyneside hero Richard Dawson takes to the stage, drinking the blood-red wine. Playing the stumblebum raconteur, he rambles hilariously about the joys of wearing shorts and talks to an invisible ghost horse. He picks at a flower pot, munching on the bitter petals, before offering them around. There's a method to this madness, however, for his ballads of the old north, industrial and rural, are haunted by spirits. A harrowing knacker's yard tale, 'Poor Old Horse', is one of Dawson's most arresting unaccompanied songs, with his ragged, open-voiced baritone, bringing a palpable sense of anger and sorrow. 'The Ghost of a Tree' finds the uncanny in a bleak winter landscape, while 'The Brisk Lad' tells of an outlaw on the moors. Dawson is an inventive guitarist too, picking out Martin Carthy-meets-Beefheart instrumentals through rusted pale amp buzz. Light years away from your average earnest troubadour, Dawson is an eccentric but fierce talent.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Richard Dawson

Acclaimed Northumbrian singer-songwriter drawing comparisons to John Martyn and Captain Beefheart.

Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough

Thu 28 Oct

£5.50–£15.40 / 01642 242164

RM Hubbert

Guitar instrumentals from the artist who won the Scottish Album of the Year in 2013.