Tommy Reilly @ Cabaret Voltaire 01-03-09

March 6, 2009

Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, March 1 * * *

Tonight was a night full of contradictions, at the centre of which was modest Glaswegian Tommy Reilly. The merch stand, with signed posters at £3 a pop, was the first indicator that the major label backing Reilly won on Channel 4’s Unsigned Act is starting to make its influence felt. Anyone for a quick cash-in?
However the biggest contradiction of the night was between Reilly – alone on stage, battered acoustic guitar in hand laying his soul bare – and a very vocal support, many of whom seemed more intent on randomly shouting at or chatting about tonight’s headliner than actually listening to his music.
It was a distraction that made engaging with the nervous singer nigh on impossible, but even with the surrounding circus there were still moments when Reilly’s skiffle-fied folk-pop songs hit the mark. Tell Me So proved his best composition, its frenetic guitar and anguished vocals driving the song on to its sudden conclusion.
Somewhat predictably debut single Gimme A Call provoked the biggest round of “Tommy” shouts and allowed the crowd a chance to sing their hearts out, but with the song that effectively launched his career already sounding somewhat jaded you have to wonder if Reilly’s popularity will spread or if he’ll remain a Scottish phenomenon.


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