C Duncan

Maryhill Community Central Hall


C Duncan just does not fit. It is clear as day.

Here we are in a venue that he himself feels is like a school assembly hall and it is barely a quarter full. Even the stained glass windows of this community hall were hidden.

You would be taken aback as a punter to see such open spaces for an artist seen by some including me as one of Scotland's most talented, but what must he be thinking?

Until the first keyboard is struck.

"It's impossible to tell you about how I'm feeling... when you live on the other side of town," is blasted out as the opener, and it could have a new meaning about how the Mercury Prize nominated artist just cannot seem to break through into the mainstream in this 21st century world of multiple channels and radio where airplay is not just treasured but also to a great extent marginalised.

Chris and his band care not a jot and the understated, immaculately polite, softly spoken, non-rock-n-roll front man transports the 150 into a journey of old and mostly new songs with guile, humour and no little self-deprecation.

The layered multi-harmonies that are the mark of the C Duncan sound, may not be as crisp and sharp as on record, but the passion and heart by which this array of art pop is delivered is both endearing and compelling.

There are few artists around that can deliver music that does not sounds like something else and C Duncan through influences that range from The Carpenters, to Talk Talk and Cocteau Twins produces a melting pot of very peculiar pop music that nobody could copy.

But is anybody listening?

While the newly discovered electropop of a Talk Talk Talk undoubtedly feels like a glorious 80s synth revisit, the highlight certainly in a live perspective is when the keyboards depart and the obscure b-side Castle Walls is delivered with breast-beating multiple harmonies and a simple acoustic guitar. It is a 'moment'.

In the meantime the playful front man is having fun with his 'neon' sign plugging his album Health, and suggesting that when lit it looks like an invitation to a brothel.

This is lo-fi presentation for a hi-fi act.

The parents of one of his band give the room a treat by suggesting they play the final song from Health, as part of the encore, which they have not attempted before on the tour.

Care proves to be little over two minutes of pure harmonic choral class.

It won't be played on Capital or Radio 1. You won't hear a sniff of it in the singles chart. But who needs mass appeal.