There is a highly anticipated feeling to Glasgow’s famous Barrowlands Ballroom tonight as those in attendance feel they are in for something special.
Of course, for some, there will be a slight sense of deja vu, as roughly 18 months ago, Aidan Moffat & band performed Where You’re Meant to Be at this very venue, culminating his summer tour of 2014, in which Moffat explored and played with many traditional Scottish folk songs, re-appropriated with the very darkly comic tone the Glasgow-based raconteur is famous for.
However, the difference, this time, is that the previous Barrowlands performance was filmed for tonight’s main attraction, the world premiere of the Where You’re Meant to Be film.
It is quickly clear why the decision to hold the film’s premiere at the Barrowlands was made as the famous music venue plays a large role in the film, not just for Moffat’s previously filmed performance there, but as the film goes to great lengths detailing the Ballroom’s importance in Scottish music today and over the years.
Moffat introduces the film by performing the song ‘Where’s Your Meant to Be’ solo, while later sarcastically remarking how the titular song “doesn’t appear once in the film, a decision that is still beyond me to this day”.
This is no sour note, however, merely a warm joke of pride from the former Arab Strap singer, who’s film is a truly remarkable documentary, detailing his band’s tour all over Scotland and the various characters they encounter in doing so.
We are then treated to a performance of the songs featured in the film by Moffat and his band, featuring Twilight Sad singer James Graham, who comes down with an unfortunate fit of giggles during the full band’s final performance due a belch from Moffat, which he quickly apologises for.
Otherwise, these re-workings of traditional Scottish folk songs are as enchanting and charming as much as they are humorous and dark, including a version of ‘I Knew a Bonnie Lassie’ as a song about the Scotish Referendum, which Moffat cut from the film because “he couldn’t be bothered with the hassle”.
Moffat’s band are heading on tour again as they screen the film in various corners of Scotland, much like in the film itself, and it is a tremendous opportunity to catch this unique experience while you still can.
Words: Adam Turner-Heffer