Newcomers to the city should come to the Jazz Bar regardless of what's on. This poky wee space is filled every night with music-lovers from around the globe, clustered around the tiny stage where, tonight, Paul Gilbody sings to us about romance, war and sushi. This fantastic singer-songwriter has worked with the likes of KT Tunstall and Alex Cornish, and tonight performs solo material that has found its way all over Scotland in the last few years. Starting with a stunning a cappella soul number, in which he uses a loop-pedal to slowly build up the song's constituent parts, Gilbody captivates and charms both when singing and just talking with the crowd.
With a tight band behind him and an arsenal of fantastic songs, Gilbody will be returning to the Jazz Bar on the 24th, and I urge you to join him there.
His music is rhythmic, idiomatic and highly skilled - every now and then a cascade of notes appears seemingly from nowhere. Songs range from the moody and funky Love Train to the wildly sexy Naked in the Sea to strangely philosophical pieces like Quicksand, in which a simple use of a delay pedal and brushes for the drummer transforms the tiny space into a brooding wasteland. Then we pick up the pace again for She Loves Sushi, in which Gilbody takes on a Newton Faulkner-esque verbose rapping; his lyrics at once hilarious and well-formed.
Whether it is the clever rhymes of these up-tempo numbers or the classically-themed Sweet Sisyphus, a kind of deep thought shines through each song. A native of Belfast, Gilbody has a keen awareness of how decisions made in an office somewhere can affect those living on the wrong side of a newly-drawn border. Though he keeps his distance from the current middle-eastern conflict, the Kashmir-inspired 200 Miles directly addresses the troubles between India and Pakistan, keeping a flavour of the region while highlighting the effects of war on civilians. Alongside the love-songs and the chirpy toe-tappers are these more pensive, complex songs, which pick up on the grey areas between right and wrong with a refreshing humility. With a tight band behind him and an arsenal of fantastic songs, Gilbody will be returning to the Jazz Bar on the 24th, and I urge you to join him there.