As I arrived tonight`s support act, Glaswegian former front man with indie rock band The Grim Northern Social and occasional singer with electro outfit Apollo 440 had just commenced his thoroughly engaging thirty-minute set. Ewan has a few albums under his belt and shares the reflective `All Those Years` from last year`s `Milk` along with the strummed `Validated` from 2021`s `Always Everlong`.
The rest of his set appears to be taken from his latest acoustic release `Dove` with `Me & James` a slow burn bluesy number about his imaginary childhood friend and `Revolver` a fast-paced narrative about going on a bender lasting all weekend and the subsequent associated consequences. He closes out with `New Rage Hope Song` and manages to get this attentive crowd to sing along. Ewan MacFarlane for me is a roots rock singer-songwriter and a contender as Scotland`s answer to the wonderful John Mellencamp.
This was Ian Moss`s first ever UK tour with a band. Ian was / is the guitarist and occasional singer in Cold Chisel, one of the best live bands of their day. They fused a combination of rockabilly, hard rock and rough-house soul ‘n’ blues that was defiantly Australian in outlook. Since the demise of Cold Chisel, Ian has forged a successful solo career and has released numerous albums with his latest `Rivers Run Dry` due out next month.
There`s very little fuss as the band arrive on stage and storm straight into a couple of numbers from his debut album `Matchbook` with the reflective `Such a Beautiful Thing` and almost ballad like `Out Of The Fire`. `If Another Day (Love Rewards Its Own) ` a part reggae part rock outing from his self-titled album gets us all moving before a nod to Cold Chisel comes with the bluesy `One Long Day` and blistering `My Baby`
The scorching `Nullarbor Plain` a car song according to the singer from the forthcoming `Rivers Run Dry` album brings us up to date before the soulful `Hold On (To What We Got) ` rings out. The home stretch includes a couple more Chisel classics with the enticing `Never Before` and heart breaking `Choirgirl` along with Mossy classics with the soulful singalong `Telephone Booth` and cautionary `Tucker’s Daughter` a song about a cotton farm labourer who finds himself the attention of his employer’s daughter, but he does not return her affections.
This is the point that the band should leave the stage and come back for the encore but the singer and his superb band dispenses with that nonsense and shares a further three numbers instead.
The funky `Mr Rain` allows this superb band of Clayton Doley (keys), Zoe
Hauptmann (bass) and Kerry Jacobson (drums) to really flex their muscles before backing singer Juanita Tippins shines and trades vocals on `Georgia On My Mind` the classic made famous by the late Ray Charles. This superb ninety minutes is ended with none other than a final Cold Chisel masterpiece in `Bow River`.
I saw Cold Chisel over forty years ago supporting Slade and Ian Moss five years ago near Wolverhampton acoustically and tonight was like catching up with an old friend.
Ian Moss is not only an accomplished singer, songwriter, and musician but also has a wonderful self-deprecating sense of humour. Ian and the band have another five dates left in the UK before they head home, miss them at your peril.