There are many small towns across the British archipelago that boast a multitude of talented musicians, most of whom go unnoticed. Stonehaven is one of these towns, but with the advent of a new live music night at Zee’s nightclub, every Friday, there is the opportunity for talent, if not to be exalted to a more commercially auspicious level, then at least to assimilate themselves into the bubble of a unique and thriving music scene.
This scene begins at 9 p.m. Doors open, the interior of the club a colourful array of lights and (fishbowl) cocktails. Morgan Taylor kicks off early proceedings with a short, reserved acoustic set. The young singer-songwriter Ben Collett follows, immediately livening the atmosphere with his schizophrenic energy and foul-mouth addresses to the crowd; at one point humorously replacing the lyrics for Dolly Parton’s Jolene with the name of an audience member’s mum, ‘Doreen’.
There then follows a strange, impromptu interlude. A random punter gets a shot at the stage and plays an extremely unpolished, yet wildly received set of covers. While it does keep the spirits of the crowd high, there is an element of it that reduces the mood to that of an open-mic night. It isn’t until 11 when Craig John Davidson finally takes the stage with his tight jeans and Kurt Cobain hair flopping down from his hat. It takes a few songs before he settles in, but his mix of dark, rhythmic acoustic guitar and brooding melody sets the tone, the crowd noticeably appreciative. There is something highly original about his songs, and a distinctiveness that most other musicians fail to find.
However, as the end of the set nears, there is a discernible lull, and while appearing to be a competent and experienced performer, Davidson never really looks completely comfortable, something that manifests itself in his vocals and demeanour. Perhaps he would connect better in a different environment than Zee’ s, which really seems suited to something louder and ballsier, but overall, it is still a successful performance and an excellent debut event for the club which will hopefully continue to provide an ever exciting line-up of acts on a Friday night.