CONCERT REVIEW : Declan Welsh & the Decadent West, Theo Bleak – Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow 9th September 2023

An old church just off Hyndland Road in the west end was tonight’s venue for a stripped back set from Declan Welsh, who was joined on stage by ten other musicians no less. Churches have excellent acoustic sound and this was proven when support act Theo Bleak sang her first song. The Dundee born singer played a 25 minute set for the half full hall, working through her back catalogue with songs including For The Boys, Feels Like Rain and the latest single It’s Not Doing Me Any Good. The set finished with two very reflective songs called Summer and Autumn.

Declan Welsh & the Decadent West are Welsh himself on vocals and acoustic guitar, Duncan McBride on guitar, Ben Corlett on bass and Murray Noble on drums. The band are just about to embark on a UK and European tour and recently put on some extra dates in Glasgow billed as “A world tour of Glasgow”, with five shows spread across the city: The Rum Shack, Cottiers Theatre, Drygate, McChuills and the Alan Rough Lounge. Tonight’s show was an acoustic show with a string quartet joining them on stage. Most of the seats were filled by now as the crowd anticipated hearing all their favourite tunes stripped back, maybe for the first time. The atmosphere in the hall was quite surreal and laid back, not at all like a normal Declan Welsh gig! Off At One was the first song, and set a nice energy between the band and the crowd. “I get off at one/I’ll meet you when I’m done” were certainly foot tapping lyrics.

Impermanency, the title song from the band’s 2022 EP, went down well as the set continued with recent release I don’t Know Why. Welsh then delved into the band’s back catalogue with Useful, Different Strokes, Be Mine and As I am. The crowd broke out in applause between songs then fell mostly silent as we took in what we were hearing. The set ended with Times and Absurd to a raptuous round of applause for every one of the eleven musicians on the stage.

The band are touring as support to The Reytons in October before beginning their own tour. Declan Welsh’s new album ‘2’ is out on 27th October, so it’s a busy end to the year for them.

Review & Photographs by Alan Brown

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