Friday 14 October 2022

Gerry Love at The Doublet

It's been a while, but last night I left The Doublet Bar thinking 'that's one of my all time favourite gigs'. A beautiful feeling. I've hung on to it all day. 

The Doublet, situated on Park Road in Glasgow, is a cracking wee no thrills, no fuss bar that I've come to love over the years. Handily located just off Great Western Road and within walking distance of Kelvinbridge Underground and Kelvingrove Park, it's still just nicely off the beaten track, on its own.

Downstairs is a cosy bar with a fine selection of beers and malts. There is no TV and you're encouraged to keep your phone in your pocket. It has a real community feel, but anyone is welcome. And then upstairs there is a small lounge that occasionally runs gigs. I put on Starry Skies back in February 2020, just before the world went crazy. 

With an official capacity of 45, getting a ticket for Gerry Love playing The Doublet was going to come down to luck. And I was out of it! I think I saw a post on social media about 90-minutes after the gig had been announced. So, of course, it was sold out.

Step forward my friend Ruthie Blaney who I met through the Teenage Fanclub Fanclub. Ruthie lives in London but has travelled all over the country to watch her favourite band. So Ruthie bought tickets to come up to see Gerry in such an intimate venue.

But then, realised the journey was just too much, coming on the back of a trip up to Strathaven to see Gerry last month and again last week to see BMX Bandits.

I will be forever grateful that Ruthie contacted me with her spare tickets!

On to The Doublet. I arrived at 7.45pm and my friends Lorna & Christina were already in. We were soon to be joined by Paul & Barry, joining the queue for doors opening to get a good seat upstairs.

Jack Mellin from Spinning Coin & Sacred Paws supported. Playing some incredible acoustic instrumentals that were hypnotic at times, dreamy at others with moments of intensity. Jack knows about 100 more chords on the guitar than me! He also sang a couple of times and kept the crowd captivated with his skills.

The view from the bar! Photo by Chris

On to the maestro - Gerry Love.

Joined by Noel O'Donnell on guitar and harmonies/backing vocals & Tom Crossley on on flute/keys/xylophone this was cross between a Gerry Love and a stripped back Lightships show.

Why was it so memorable?

Well the venue for a start. Noel was literally leaning on the bar and having a pint, joking he'd get a round in. Seeing Gerry in such an intimate venue was a real treat.

But it was the songs and the delivery of them that made it so special. It was just so good to hear so many of Gerry's songs stripped back. And to see him playing guitar so close. Noel and Tom brought so much to them, the trio played superbly.

Star Sign opened the set in style and what a selection of songs we were treated to. Sweetness In Her Spark was all kinds of gooey romance and dreamy melodies. Absolutely gorgeous.

This old heart is beating for her
There's sweetness in her spark
It's gonna take me away

Don't Look Back was an absolute joy with the crowd singing along beautifully. Oh how I've missed the shouts of 'go on Gerry boy' to highlight the love for songwriter and song. 

Love played a trilogy of songs from Grand Prix. Going Places was all kinds of spine tingling goodness, from the opening chiming guitar to more dreamy head over heels lyrics and melodies.

I've requested the stars to shine

Sparky's Dream closed the show but there was lots more before then!

If memory serves me correct, in addition to Sweetness ... Gerry and co also played Silver & Gold, Muddy River, and Fear and Doubt from Lighships. The latter introduced as being a rarity. It was one of my favourites from the set. But really, everything was just a delight.

Speaking of delights, I couldn't believe it when Gerry fuzzed up his guitar and played the riff from Hang On. I briefly managed to look around the room and jaws were dropping!

What a joy. Hang On is a real favourite of mine, that line - of all the stars I've ever seen, you're the sun - swoon! The outro with Tom playing flute was one that I didn't want to end. There were a few times when the band could have played on, gelling superbly.

From Songs from Northern Britain we had Take The Long Way Round early on, creating beaming smiles all round the room. Later on Ain't That Enough cause my friend Lorna to become a bubbling mess - in a good way. I thought she was kidding at first when she tugged on my arm, but then it became a hug as this gem of a song overwhelmed my good friend. The lyrics, the melody and the environment - perfect.

Sweet Days Waiting was beautifully mellow. It might have been raining outside but we were basking in sunshine upstairs in The Doublet.

Near You is a real favourite of mine. Guitar pop perfection. And then there was Gerry's cover of Moondog's Do Your Thing that seems to have been written for him.

And then it was Sparky's Dream to end. Everyone sang, everyone was smiling, everyone was feeling good. Paul, who owns The Doublet had introduced Gerry by saying something about the state of the world, how we're living in strange and dark times and that we all need a little more love, Gerry Love. (or words to that effect). I drove home buzzing, thinking of Gerry playing that set with a full band. 

So I think that was pretty much the set. The band were playing just a few feet from where I was sitting, with the majority of the crowd standing by the bar. It felt special, it was special, it was Gerry Love and friends playing some of my favourite songs.

Hopefully Gerry will have some album news in the near future.

I'll be heeding Paul's advice and getting a little more Gerry Love at Stereo next Friday as he supports The Hanging Stars.

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