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Gavin James – A Review by Katharina Moos Bille

Written by on 28th January 2019

Seven years ago Gavin James played his first live performance, as support for Ingrid Michaelson, at Oran Mor.

During this year’s Celtic Connections he returned to that very same stage, to his first two nights of the UK leg of his ‘Only Ticket Home World Tour’.

To warm up the crowd, Norwegian Hanne Leland took the stage in her green shorts and up-beat dreamy scandi-pop songs.

With empowering songs such as ‘You Don’t Own Me’ and ‘Hungover You’, which she described as “feeling so sick of someone that you actually feel hungover”, Leland conquered the stage as if it were her own.

As support act the stage set-up was clean and simple, however the small detail of turning the lights green as she sang the jealousy-ridden ‘Ego Talking’, proved very satisfactory.

Unfortunately she ended with “Underdogs”, which felt a little Glee-esque in its mantra ‘we’re the underdogs’ and took away from her otherwise original lyrics.

With the crowd now warm, Gavin James entered the stage with a full band to back him up and launched into fast-paced guitar ridden jams.

The middle of his set, which was largely his quieter songs, was sadly marked by a chatty crowd.

A highlight from the gig was when a man in the back seized a heart-wrenching musical moment to steal a little extra beer by pouring from his pals cup into his own, as James launched a heartfelt plea for a love on stage.

In between songs James, a Dublin man himself, asked how well Ireland was represented at the gig, whereafter what felt like hafl the crowd cheered him on.

In conversation with James before he went on stage, he noted that Glasgow is particularly good crowd, known for their vocal support and ‘supportive’ heckling.

There is no doubt of James’ musical talent with smooth voice and a stage presence that could have commanded a much larger crowd than what fit in Oran Mor.

However, everything was also very clean and safe. It felt a little like a Taylor Swift concert mulling around in lost love and heartbreak, just without the drama of revenge.

Gavin James knows his audience, but if he wants to reach wider than coffee-shop music, maybe there could be more space for experimentation and risks.

To hear the full interview with Gavin James before we went on stage, tune in to Radio Caley’s music show on Wednesday from 1-3pm.

Written by Katharina Moos Bille

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