CONCERT REVIEW : Mark Sharp & The Bicycle Thieves – King Tut’s 28th January 2023

Tickets for this one had sold out in 48 hours. It was part of King’s Tuts ‘New Year’s Revolution’ which saw up and coming Scottish bands play gigs at the venue during the month of January. Mark Sharp and his band were just about to embark on a European tour with the one and only Lewis Capaldi, taking in Poland, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium and Spain.

I arrived to see a couple of songs from Ben West’s set before we all had to evacuate the building due to the fire alarm being set off! After half an hour so we were allowed back in and Ben West continued his set. Next up was Phil ‘PG’ Ciarletta, who I had actually saw the previous night at Broadcast. Hailing from Kirkcaldy, but with Italian blood, Ciarletta has written half a dozen excellent songs. His set included: 27, Bonnie Toun, Please Stay, Chancer and his biggest song to date The Sesh. There are definite Gerry Cinnamon influences in his feel-good indie songs.

After the drama with the fire alarm everything was pushed back by at least half an hour, with Mark Sharp & The Bicycle Thieves not taking the stage until well after 10pm so it was going to be a late one at The Tut’s.  The band are from West Lothian, a part of Scotland that seems to be producing so much musical talent at the moment. Bands such as The Snuts, Lewis Capaldi, Dictator and LF System are just some that hail from West Lothian. Mark Sharp and his band have appeared at a few festivals already, with TRNSMT being the biggest one, but they have also played sold out shows at Saint Luke’s and King Tut’s. They played Party at the Palace in 2019, headlining the second stage, and played at Edinburgh Summer Sessions, with over 10,000 people watching them over two nights.

The set began with the song One More Time, followed by Today, Tomorrow, Forever which was released as a single and reached the top 20 of the iTunes Rock Chart in 2021. Warpaint was next, a more upbeat dance song then new single Last Dance, which was released in January 2023. The sell out crowd were delighted to hear the new song and the band were appreciating the dancing, singing and mosh pits that prevailed. They worked through more of their most popular tracks: All the Good Times Have Gone, Liquid Gold and Tippy Toes, Big Star and Firewater, which certainly kept the crowd moving. Firewater went down a storm and King Tut’s was jumping once again. Coincidentally the after party was to be at the nightclub Firewater in Sauchiehall Street, where Mark Sharp was to play a dj set, and anyone with a ticket for the gig was allowed free entry!

The set continued with Moonshine, Sink or Swim and the last song of the night was Amorous. The band played 12 songs in total and were on stage for an hour. Mark Sharp’s music is gaining quite a large following in Scotland now. A few days after this gig they did a fundraiser gig (which was also sold out) to raise funds for their European trip to support Lewis Capaldi on his tour. I am sure that they will go down a storm.

Review and Photographs by Alan Brown

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