Dan Whitehouse opens the show this evening, bringing with him to the stage a very well-loved electric guitar. The West-Midlander opens with the stirring Close Up, which recounts the story of a young Syrian refugee in Lebanon. Whitehouse’s triple layered concoctions on the loop pedal are simply beautiful, paired with a smoky and heartfelt voice.
Taking a break from his duties in acclaimed folk group Lau, Kris Drever is currently touring his first solo album in six years, entitled If Wishes Were Horses. Drever is joined on stage by guitarist Ian Carr, bassist Euan Burton and drummer (and Admiral Fallow frontman) Louis Abbot. Drever and band are impeccably dressed this evening, playing to a full Aberdonian house.
Beginning the set with 2007’s Steel and Stone, the band play a selection of tracks from Drever’s new album including Capernaum – an ode of sorts to Edinburgh, where Drever cut his teeth as a folk artist many moons ago. He also plays homage to his Orcadian roots in Going to the North, in which a Dundonian strand of his Orkney lineage answer the call of the northern isles. This new material highlights a well-earnt confidence in Drever. It’s stunningly elegant folk (surprisingly without accordion and fiddle), telling tales of love, loss and home.
The standout this evening is the album opener I Didn’t Try Hard Enough, an anti-love song, inspired by guff heard on late night radio shows. Louis Abbot is mesmerising to watch during this song, multitasking on keyboard, drums and backing vocals.
The set also includes the perfect mix of older songs, including the cover Allegory, which Drever reveals he discovered as a 13 year old on an obscure rarities record, by an even obscurer sounding band. The song has found new life recently, included as a staple in fellow folk-group Rura’s repertoire.
The entire set is mesmerising from beginning to end, proving why Drever has earned his reputation as one of Scotland’s shining stars in the folk scene. The audience certainly agree, demanding an encore as soon as the band play their final note.