You’d be forgiven for thinking that on a Friday night in Glasgow you could be dealing with a tough crowd.
Potentially rowdy, almost certainly intoxicated, Friday night gigs can be a frustrating show for an act best heard in needle-dropping silence.
Something about Rachel Sermanni’s fans however oozes of respect.
The warm setting of Oran Mor, complimented by rather comfortable seats, sets the scene perfectly for a night of acoustic filled melodies.
First up, Adam from Randolph’s Leap treats the attentive crowd to his fluttering tones and intelligently direct lyrics.
Scaled down from a large ensemble, Adam fills in the missing violins with melodic “la”s and clearly has enough talent to carry large scale songs all on his lonesome.
He’s charming, almost in a twee way, almost in a hipster way, but his self-awareness of this plays a large part in the humour of the group’s songs which provoke many laughs and cheers from the otherwise reserved crowd.
Beerjacket has the definition of ‘alt folk’ on his Twitter page, summing up his professional set perfectly.
More percussive than Adam before him, Beerjacket stomps and smacks his guitar between folky strums and husky vocals.
Louise from Reverieme helps out with vocal harmonies on a few tracks, and Beerjacket himself finishes up with a ukulele-led number.
Accompanied by three violinists/vocalists and a pianist, Rachel Sermanni‘s set is somewhat scaled down compared to her recent full-band St Andrews and Mitchell Library shows.
It works wonders for her gentle songs, and gives tracks like ‘The Fog’ a more sinister and ominous atmosphere without the pounding percussion found in the full-band arrangement.
That darkness is none more present than in new track ‘I’ve Got a Girl’, inspired by dreams she had around the time of the St Andrews gig, it’s a creeping track involving palm muting and dissonant chords.
Current single ‘Eggshells’ is stripped down to its solo arrangement, making its already evocative chorus all the more precious.
The ‘Black Currents’ EP is played in its entirety, and its strongest track ‘Song to a Fox’ closes the main set.
While not as immediate as the other songs on the EP, it has a rainy-day feel to it which is completely timeless, and its live arrangement is one of absolute beauty.
Sermanni herself is ever the gracious host, continuously thanking the crowd for attending and being so attentive, her quirky humour and stage antics are endearing and make her all the more likeable.
It’s not hard to see how much she enjoys what she does; visibly losing herself in the music during the breakdown of ‘The Fog.’
The night closes with the all-too-brief ‘Little Prayer’; at only a minute long, it lives up to its name, but with her accompanying girls providing outstanding harmonies, it is the perfect way to end the night.
Things keep going well for Rachel Sermanni, don’t be surprised when she’s playing larger venues next time around.
Words: Scott Wilson
Photos: Debbie McCuish