An Evening With Aidan John Moffat – The Arches

The first sign of a slightly drunken and rushed reviewer is the lack of the second most important piece of equipment required to make notes. As I sat down in the beautifully candle lit Arches I had my pen but paper was a severely lacking, so I ended up having to scribble on the back of three receipts and a ticket stub (I guess its obvious I was never a boy scout). The Arches was set up with tables covered in tea light candles providing the perfect relaxed atmosphere for Mr Moffat to come on stage and throw a few choice expletives at us. Three red lights flashed across the stage as the bearded wonder emerged to greet us with a simple “Hello”. He settled down on his stool, took out his noise-box and placed his sheets of lyrics on a stand in front of him before explaining a few things to the crowd in true Aidan Moffat style. “Lets not beat around the bush I’m here because I’ve got an album out” Moffat joked in his deep relaxed Scottish drawl. He went on to say in an ever so slightly sarcastic tone “I’ve never sung these to anyone before so I hope you realise how lucky you are”. His latest effort under his full name Aidan John Moffat is essentially a spoken word album backed by different programmed soundscapes and noises that for live purposes emanated from a box on Aidan’s lap.

The majority of “I Can Hear Your Heart” received an airing with songs such as “Cunts”, “Double Justice” and “Good Morning” being met with laughs from the crowd throughout their matter of fact delivery. One of the great things about the evening was that it wasn’t only great artistically and musically but also due to his ability to write truthful, sometimes-humorous lyrics it was great all round entertainment. “Nothing In Common” slipped seamlessly into “Hopelessly Devoted” just as it does on the album with Aidan’s questioning of the later lives of the characters in grease echoing around the red brick tunnels (I think that Danny probably did turn into a Fanny). Song of the night for me was “The Boy That You Love” which sounded even more acerbic than ever as Aidan unfurled the tale of unfaithfulness and lost love. After playing a beautiful version of “Beak” he disappeared back through the door at the rear of the stage. On his return he announced “Hello again, we’re going to play some proper songs now, as in they’ve got a guitar in them”. Then in self deprecating “Arab Strap” mode he declared “You’re going to hear a couple of cover songs, one of which is total shit but who cares”. He then started with his self-professed “good” cover, a version of a Glen Campbell song which to be fair was excellent, but it paled into insignificance when compared to the banter of the “Shit” cover version.

“I wanted to release an album called polished turds, you know its garbage but in your heart it means something more”. As he continued to reveal the details of the “shit” he was going to perform the comedy of the whole moment took over “The first time I saw her was on a daytime TV show called Des and Mel, those of you that are laughing must be unemployed or students”. Finally after all the build up he played Katie Melua’s “Nine Million Bicycles” in his own unique manner and received a rapturous response. After a quick exit to the toilet to retrieve his beer he finished with “twice” by getting the audience to shout cords for him to play on his keyboard finally settling I believe on e-minor and a-major. By the end of his set it was definitely fair to say that everyone in the Arches on April fools day felt very lucky to have witnessed Aidan’s first evening of spoken word story telling.

Ross Cunningham

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