Review: The Blueswater at The Hug and Pint

Published

Credit: Blueswater

Jamie Quinn
Science & Tech Editor

On 19 September, I had the pleasure of being part of the group of “naughty children” crammed into the downstairs of the West End’s finest vegan Asian-fusion spot, The Hug And Pint, to watch The Blueswater infect the entire room with rhythm & blues. I enter the room just after they’ve gone on stage, as frontman Felipe Schrieberg, dressed in a simple white T and blazer, looks deep into the crowd and expresses how much he’s been looking forward to the Glasgow part of their Scottish tour. Playing a mixture of self-penned and cover material, the band shimmy from tune to tune, moving from the crowd-rousing Gut Punching, with its slow, deliberate mouth-organ, to a rendition of Shake Your Moneymaker that teases out yet another relaxed half-time solo, sloshing back and forth between mouth and mouth-organ, before rising to break against a climactic final chorus.

What strikes me is the solid backing provided by drummer Simon Gibb, particularly on the cover of John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom, at times filling across the toms, and at others just investing in a steady groove. Lead guitarist Charlie Wild has his occasional moments, usually during intimate conversations with the drums or mouth-organ. The sound quality is great for such a tiny space, with the engineer perfectly balancing the potentially disastrous mouth-organ.

Songs like Whisky, while a decent crowd-jiggler, feel like filler material. In fact, most of the filler songs seem to be consistently sourced from their EP, Around Here. In listening to it, you can see why – much of this recorded material sounds like the band finding their feet and this can mostly be heard through the lyrics. Early Blueswater seem content just to repeat powerful sounding but ultimately underwhelming lines like “love me for who I am”. Luckily for the increasingly lively Glasgow crowd, the band have penned a number of absolute bangers slotted in amongst homages to the classics such as Splish Splash and Gloria.

The highlight of the night is a double bill of songs that gets the crowd doing much more than the typical Hug & Pint indie shuffle. As Schrieberg unwinds the mic, he coaxes the crowd into repeating back his New Orleans-style nonsense while Gibb simply sits on the hi-hat measuring out a pulse that, with the help of Ewan Gibson’s beautifully simple bass-line, builds the call and response into a raucous. All of a sudden it’s over and the frontman is gyrating towards “lovely Glasgwegian faces”, describing precisely how we should be moving our hips back and forth. The band announces their finale and the room protests in pantomime. With a final show of expert crowd-pleasing, they dive into a groove, introduce the band, and slam into Gloria.

It must be said that this is a band that will always suffer to please with their recordings as much as they do when performing on stage. I’d recommend you go see them when they’re next about.