Lost and Found presents… Julia and the Doogans, Amber Wilson & Sarah J Stanley – Tunnels 2 – 29th March 2010
Being honest, I only found out about this gig on Sunday night after a chance spot of a lovely looking poster featuring a lovelier looking rocket on the window of Café Drummonds on Belmont Street. I had come across Julia and the Doogans before with lead singer Julia being a loyal user of Twitter and with a couple of Myspace searches later her tunes were on firm repeat throughout my flat. Warm, folky acoustics with an impeccable voice to boot, perfect for the chill out period required throughout the writing of a dissertation in 4th year at Uni.
So I sauntered on down to the Tunnels not knowing much about what was happening or who was playing. First surprise of the night – 3 acts. Second surprise of the night – £3 entry. Third surprise of the night – working out that this is a measly £1 an act; surely value for money was the name of the game tonight! Fourth surprise of the night – party rings and mini mini eggs to munch on throughout the gig. Fifth surprise of the night – how warm and relaxing the Tunnels can look with candles and tables and chairs set out. The night was off to a good start without a note even being played.
First act on was Sarah J Stanley. Playing acoustic songs, ably supported by synthesiser sounds and a haunting voice, she immediately grasps my attention as soon as she launches into her opening track that ultimately led me to ask myself why hadn’t I heard of her before? With a well received set in front of an attentive audience, and some great banter, with a cover of Jolene by Dolly Parton thrown in for good measure, this is certainly a singer/songwriter that I will be keeping an eye on in the future.
Next up was Amber Wilson. I had heard good things about Amber and had heard a couple of tracks from her E.P aptly titled, “This is my EP!” I was also pretty sure I had read somewhere that she had been headhunted by Morcheeba to sing with them on their European tour in 2007; not a bad feat for someone working in a café in Aberdeen at the time. Stand out tracks were Sleep which made me want to do just that in the best way possible, An Affirmation and a truly haunting cover of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart. This singer songwriter has honestly one of the best voices I have ever heard live. It’s husky and smooth at the same time and definitely makes people stand up and take notice of this young, talented, almost hidden gem of the current Aberdeen music scene. I will undoubtedly be going out my way to catch Amber live sometime again. Mesmerising.
Sitting in awe after two stunning opening acts, I kind of felt a bit nervous for Julia and the Doogans and wondered if they would be able to match what had went before them. A couple of bars into the opening track and I knew straight away they were more than capable. Playing as a two piece, Julia and her very own Doogan played a collection of folky tunes, with perfect harmonies and that special use of a glockenspiel that would make the deadest most downbeat song come alive. Standout tracks included New York City, Hummingbird, a cover of Coldplay’s The Scientist and set closer Glasgow; with the latter never making the city sound so warm and inviting. It’s quite obvious that this singer has talent in abundance, with a voice effortlessly good and the catchy, hook ridden songs to match.
So a completely different sort of gig and night that I’m used to with not a bead of sweat or a crunch of distortion in sight. However, it is nights like these that leave you feeling refreshed and safe that the future of Scottish music is in more than capable hands.
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