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Third gig of the year. A bit closer to home this time, with Rachel Sermanni at the Tollbooth in Stirling. Ably supported by Colin James Murphy and Alex Hynes.

Colin James Murphy

First on was a young man with a long name from somewhere in Central Scotland, in a very fine Icelandic looking sweater. He wasn’t on for very long but on the strength of his set I would recommend checking out his recently released EP ā€“ More Than Just an Hour Between Us – the title track and the song Hurricane being standouts live. He was also accompanied by a really interesting and talented percussionist, whose selection of percussion instruments had a custom made look that suggests musical experimentation of the good kind ā€“ one to look out for in his own right.


Next up was a very tall young man, who looked and sounded when he spoke as though he’d escaped from a Seattle grunge band, but turns out to be from Cumbernauld. Interesting singing voice and some endearingly awkward anecdotes between the songs. Also he did a couple of excellent covers of songs from films, Toy Story at one end of the scale and The Weary Kind from Crazy Heart at the other.

Alex Hynes

Then finally we had the lovely Rachel Sermanni, all shy smiles, charming anecdotes (‘my mum always encourages me to explain this one, but I’m not going to’) and breathtakingly beautiful vocals. Although she’s chiefly known for her stunning voice and raw lyrics, in quietly beautiful songs, I would like to take a moment to praise her ‘angrier’ songs, a different kind of passion but no less compelling. Also I suspect that anyone who’s spent any length of time working in retail will enjoy and empathise with Burger Van Song.

Additionally, after the assault on the eyes that was the Peatbog Fairies gig, I’m pleased to report that the lighting at this gig was much softer and in fact more interesting ā€“ at times Rachel was accompanied by a lighting effect that made the stage look as though she were standing amid a fall of giant leaves.

Rachel Sermanni