Findlay Napier – Old King’s Head, Friday 22nd February

Warm, comical, and a consummate storyteller Findlay Napier digs deep down to cover everything from imagined Justin Bieber Glaswegian romance to New York monument selling hustlers.

Findlay blends folk, indie, blues and Americana seamlessly together as he breathes life into vibrant characters of past and present, letting them inhabit the chip shops, train stations and torn down points of heritage of his home town. The Scot illuminates and elevates these natty narratives of everyday Glasgow life; ’Young goths in the Necropolis,’ meeting in secret in a Dennistoun cemetery; ‘Eddie Banjo,’ a homeless veteran with a one song repertoire; ‘George,’ an ode to an old mischievous schoolfriend’s late night weekend escapades.

Standouts are ‘The Locarno, Sauchiehall St 1928’ and the ‘Wire Burners’. The former is a nostalgic trip back in time to the Glasgow dance halls. Dance Halls, which Ian Jack describes as the ‘Tinder of their day,’ were abundant in 1950’s Glasgow and were the place where a huge majority of couples first locked eyes on each other. Back then there was no such thing as the cold anonymity of swiping left or right, but rather a tense standoff as you waited to know the answer to “can I take you home tonight?’

 

On ‘Wire Burners,’ co-written with frequent collaborator Boo Hewardine, he sings of the lost, lonely, ghostly figures of the Glasgow homeless who go from building site to site collecting scrap metal to sell. Lightly finger-picked along, the sombre song of monotony and misfortune tells a tale of people separated from you and I only by the “grace of God.”

Finishing his set with eponymous track ‘Glasgow’ from his 2017 album, the ode to his hometown rounded off a polished and nostalgic tour de force with a classic folk sing-along.

Then it was just a mere four butt numbing hours’ drive back home. I do not envy him.

If you want to see who is playing at the Old King’s Head over the next few months their lineup can be found here.

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