Live review: Margaret Glaspy, Stereo Glasgow
Singer-songwriter charms the Glasgow crowd
Filthy riffs and language are just one side of New York-based Margaret Glaspy's sound- the other is a disarming, open-hearted sweetness and vulnerability. Bounding on stage in her silver bomber jacket, she looks every inch the modern rock star- even if her drummer Timothy Kuhl and gangly bassist Spencer Zahn seem like 70s slackers straight out of a Richard Linklater film. It's the inherent contradictions within Glaspy which are so endearing: her effortless chatty charm and serrated guitar playing, even when her lyrics on family dysfunction and romantic break-ups seem painfully candid. She could be a best friend sharing boozy confessions after one too many, such is her ability to bring such a raw intimacy.
Showcasing songs from debut album Emotions and Math, which was released this June, she isn't so easy to categorise – a little grunge, sort of country, with a punk snarl in more defiant moments, and a folky otherwordliness to the ballads. It's testament to that extraordinary voice which is an elastic instrument in and of itself that she holds the crowd's attention throughout – particularly as there is a mixed age-group.
One minute she has a reedy, girlish and spine-tingling coo, the next she lets rip with a guttural roar and an F-bomb or two, and she even silences the packed room when performing new, as yet unnamed, songs and cover versions without the rest of band. The choice of Lauren Hill's 'Ex Factor' is a welcome surprise, which sees her looping her own echo on the outro, up against the more conventional go-ahead country of Lucinda Williams' 'Fruits of My Labour'. 'Situation', meanwhile, from her album comes on like a swampy blues tune, with Davis providing a snaky bass-line, and an elegiac, bare bones 'Love Like This' could turn curly hair straight – it is electrifying. Being a slightly neurotic outsider never seemed so appealing.
Seen at Stereo, Glasgow, Mon 7 Nov.