Callum Easter @ The Old Hairdresser's, Glasgow, 8 Jul
It’s a surprisingly humid Saturday night, and down the road Glasgow Green’s hosting 45,000 Kasabian fans. The gig space above The Old Hairdresser’s feels cool and calm by comparison. An intimate but enthusiastic crowd has gathered to celebrate the launch of Callum Easter’s second record, six track mini-album Delete Forever recorded at Edinburgh’s Soulpunk Studio, also home to Young Fathers and Law Holt. It feels a family affair – studio boss Tim London kicks off the evening as Iklan Sound, and his bandmates Jacqui and Pauline Cuff, otherwise known as the Leith Congregational Choir, are stamping wrists at the door.
The night’s support is soonbe who you’ll recognise as Steven Morrison, live drummer with Young Fathers. Under his own moniker, Morrison’s work is curiously described as intermedia art. This is instantly explained by a short, extremely intense set. Aided by disorientating projected visuals and a blinding hand-held lamp, he roams through the audience and interrogates the front row with extended eye-contact and that piercing beam of light. Part submerged, danceable beats and part accusatory, intimate monologue, soonbe’s developed his own unique voice and even more unusual method of delivery.
There’s just enough time for a quick pint break before Callum Easter takes to the stage – or rather, a performance space marked out by taped-down wires. Performing a mixture of new tracks and (marginally) older tunes from last year’s mini-album Get Don’t Want, he’s joined by the brilliant Cuff sisters on backing vocals and an extra pair of hands behind a desk nearly weighed down by tech.
Easter’s vocals are bold, warm and bluesy, and enjoyably at odds with the fuzzed, glitchy beats that fill the room. New cut Promises is confidently understated and surprisingly gentle, while Pop Goes the Weasel and Silhouette have a pomp and swagger that feels even bigger in such a tiny room on such a close, sticky evening. Finishing up with last year’s track Feelings Gone, there’s little ceremony as he thanks everyone for coming and promptly re-joins the audience’s side of the wires.
A low-key but inspiring showcase for Soulpunk, and a friendly testing ground for Easter, there’s no doubt that there’s even more to come from all involved. Eyes peeled, please.