Have Mercy Las Vegas – St Peter’s Blues EP, 21 October 2016 review Stephen Watt

st peters blues

st peters blues

St Peter’s EP launch at Cottiers Theatre, 20 October 2016

St Peter’s Blues – review Stephen Watt

Contemporary folk music does not generally arrive in a better package than the compositions produced by Have Mercy Las Vegas, and on 21 October 2016 the West Dunbartonshire favourites release new EP ‘St Peter’s Blues’, a day after the EP launch at Cottiers Theatre.

Despite a somewhat sparse output since debut album “That’s Life”, the band’s new single (exactly two years and two months after the LP) is a potential chef-d’oeuvre in Celtic roots and folk sounds, stirring their recognised harmonies with slow/fast, fucking-turbulent riptides of fiddle and banjo. In a paean to a tortured soul meeting their maker (“I am here in my hospital bed/am I dead?”), vocalist Eilidh Trotter’s opening lines lend more weight following the passing of rock icons such as David Bowie and Prince this year.

Less vociferation and more polyphonic benevolence, the harmonies between Trotter and co-vocalist Crispin McAlpine wash over you (“I was found in a river with my body soaked to my soul”), easing the listener towards that light of St Peter’s gates where a voice questions “How do you think you lived your life?”. At this point, Vegas crank it up with “a final sin/a cheeky grin”, allowing the band to rattle those gates like an afterlife ASBO-in waiting. Drummer Phil Plunkett’s erratic beat is a defibrillator supplying an electric shock to the heart, but if you can out-dance that rhythm section, there’s a good chance you’ll be revisiting those pearly gates sooner rather than later. If the quality of the writing and musicianship demonstrated in this single is a mark of what is to come, then surely “That’s Death” has to be the title of the next album, in the most ‘heavenly’ way, of course. Let it haunt you.

19 September, 2016

Have Mercy Las Vegas band website

Club Uprising, 22 October, 2016 Stereo
The Ettrick Weekender with Daddy Naggins, Clann An Drumma, Eddie Reid, Jim Byrne, Alan Cranney and Les Johnson Sunday 25 September, 2016 4 p.m. till late

This section: Gig Guide, Stephen Watt, Poet.

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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