Monday, 1 December 2014

Xylouris White, Gig Review, Glasgow

Xylouris White, Gig Review, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow. Nov 2014

I like it when you happen upon an album, look into the musicians a bit and then find that they are playing my town a couple of days later. I picked up the album Goats by George Xylouris and Jim White (performing as Xylouris White) after reading good reviews of it in several places. I was always going to warm to it as I have a strong affection for Greece after spending several summers there, where I have many good friends. One thing my Greek friends have tried to teach me is the difference between decent Greek music and "dog music" - skyladika music. I have kind of got that now and my personal preferences are towards Rembetiko, but I still never got the hang of what music would suddenly spring a sedate crowd onto their feet to dance around the room with the first chord. 

George Xylouris is from Crete, the lute playing son of famous musician Psarantonis (Antonis Xylouris). He has played before with Australian drummer Jim White and the pair have now come together to record an album and tour. White was co-founder of the Dirty Three (with Warren Ellis and Mick Turner) and has collaborated with Bonnie Prince Billie, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey amongst others. These diverse backgrounds come together on a largely instrumental album that feels like an extended jam session, the album produced by Fugazi's Guy Picciotto. When I was driving up to Crianlarich last week in the dark to get up a mountain early, this album, Goats, was on repeat in the car and accompanied the trip perfectly.

Jim White and George Xylouris at King Tut's, Glasgow
Their gig in Glasgow drew out a large Greek following to King Tut's. Glasgow based psychadelic-folk-rock band Trembling Bells, with drummer Alex Neilson, provided lively support. Then the wild-haired pair came onstage and riffed back and forwards between lute and mesmeric drumming. There was more singing from Xylouris in the live show than on the album, and some beautiful music on show. The Greek crowd were a bit more unruly and chatty than the usual Glasgow audience, but the experienced pair on stage were able to reel them in again and again and after a quiet piece hypnotised everyone, they were sprung into life for a Greek dance around the room, with it has to be said some impressive solo efforts on the dance front. A lovely evening, and the only time that I've ever bought a set of worry beads/κομπολόγια from the merchandise stall.

Τι όμορφη μουσική. Ευχαριστώ πολύ