Cowboy Junkies @ Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow for Celtic Connections 2013

I’m convinced that everyone at some stage in their life must fantasise about what it would be like to find that they have been locked inside a museum after closing time.  You imagine wandering the empty corridors as the historic exhibits come to life; dream about interacting with them like nobody else can; having absolute free reign over this place of splendour.

That isn’t quite what happened when the doors were closed to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum last night.  Instead of discovering the Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt or investigating Bosch and Bruegel, a busy audience was treated to an evening with Canadian folk-rock band Cowboy Junkies.

Although the setting was vast and quite magnificent (if my reading of the floor plan is right the gig took place in what is normally the Royal Bank of Scotland Exhibition Gallery) it did make for a bit of an impersonal experience.  The level floor plan ensured that the further back the seating went (I found myself in row S) the more difficult the view of the stage became.

With a four volume series of albums released in the last 18 months, Margo Timmins and co were in selling mode as they, somewhat ambitiously, played a six-song run of new material early in the set.  With much of this being unfamiliar to a large portion of the audience I felt the band were swimming against the tide to bring us back into the show.

It wasn’t until they reached into their vast back catalogue for their biggest hit – a cover of Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane – that the audience once again became engaged with procedings.  The older material – particularly Blue Moon Revisited and Misguided Angel – served as a poignant insight towards what this set could have offered.

A fine cover of Neil Young’s Don’t Let it Bring You Down rounded off what was a musically good set, although the wander into unfamiliar territory so early in the set from a band who aren’t that instantly recognisable to begin with made this a difficult gig to enjoy.


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