After hearing Catherine MacLellan’s latest album, 'Silhouette', my wife and I decided that we’d like to see her live. Catherine’s gig took place on a Friday night, so we decided to make it a “date night” and go for food and wine beforehand in the CCA’s Saramago café/bar. We’re both vegetarian, and we were thrilled to find out that the CCA’s bar has a vegan menu. After a delicious and reasonably-priced meal, we sat with a bottle of wine until the concert began.

The gig took place in the CCA’s cinema, a wonderfully intimate little room on the ground floor. By the time Catherine MacLellan took the stage around eight o’clock, the little room was just over half full. MacLellan accompanies herself on acoustic guitar and is backed by Chris Gauthier whose performance on electric guitar enhances her sound without ever being intrusive.

Catherine’s set-list was made up mainly of tracks from 'Silhouette' and her third album 'Water in the Ground'. Her gentle folky sound translates well to the stage and her playing, like Gauthier’s, is faultless.

One highlight was when MacLellan played 'Isobel’s Song from Water in the Ground'. Isobel is MacLellan’s daughter, and the song is beautifully tender.

My only criticism of the venue was the lack of air conditioning in the room. During the gig it became oppressively hot, to the point that one man fainted and had to be removed. Catherine and Chris took this in their stride, and stepped off stage for a moment to allow the gentleman to receive treatment.

The gig finished with 'Snowbird', written by Catherine’s father, Gene MacLellan. Her version is a pared down acoustic number which emphasises the beauty of the song in a way that previous readings have missed.

Despite the discomfort in the venue, the gig was a real success, with Catherine in great voice. Her stagecraft is excellent, and she engages the audience constantly during the show. Both her playing and Gauthier’s is fantastic, and the choice of material suited the venue, the audience and the performers particularly well.

This was the first gig I had gone to with my wife in a long time (she loved it, incidentally), and I’m pleased to say that “Date Night” was an unprecedented success. I’m looking forward to our next outing – if the artist is of a similar standard, we will have a grand time.

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Commenting On: CCA, Glasgow, 18/4/2011 - Catherine MacLellan

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