A rarely unique treat for Edinburgh on Friday, kicking off the tour for Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells’ performances from ‘Everything’s Getting Older’, one of the most simmering critically lauded albums the UK has seen this year, in Cabaret Voltaire.
The early career of Moffat’s involvement as one half of seminal Glasgow indie outfit Arab Strap is a preview recap well trodden. However, the understated influence of Wells is the thread that has produced such a standout LP.
We could be typing until the tour finishes if we tried to encompass the breadth of works Mr Wells has stirred his self taught, jazz musicianship with (his ‘Trio’, ‘Octet’ and ‘Big Band’ troupes should provide ample evidence) – but the man himself has recently admitted to having ‘more in common with indie’.
The reach of his distinctively crisp, sparse piano playing and instinctive bass work have led Wells to be known as one of the most capable session men in Scottish music. However, with frustrations finding kinsmen in his original genre, he meandered more into the twee scene – with assistance being lent to Isobel Campbell and Jens Lekman within the last handful of years.
After combining forces on a few tracks within Arab Straps 2003 effort, ‘Monday at the Hug & Pint’, the pair finally had their to-and-fro tracks come to fruition late in 2010. Within the studio, and on tour, they’ve assembled talents of similarly excellent musicians in Aby Vulliamy (Viola), Robert Henderson (Trumpet) and Stevie Jones (Bass).
At the business end of things Moffat is commonly, and rightly, described as a vocalist rather than singer, even during the early days of Arab Strap he was keen for a spot of collab; somewhat infamously lending his tones to Mogwai’s R U Still In 2 It? as both bands recorded their debut albums in Hamilton’s MCM Studios.
Not disimilar from bandmate Malcolm Middleton, has, Moffat peddled solo work during and since t’Strap came off the boil, but his work with Wells has been hailed as some of the most worthwhile since the indie outfits heyday a decade ago.
The obvious experience and genuine genius of Wells has clearly laid a table that Moffat’s work has never dined at before, with his lyrics more staunch and accessibly visceral for it.
Support for the tour will be in the form of ever reliable, always awesome R.M Hubbert. We didn’t see Hubby ALL OF SEPTEMBER (which is probably the only month of 2011 we’ve not) so are looking forward to hopefully some new material from his album due early next year. Take a moment to check out his tidy site and even tidier tunes and get yer arses down by eight!
If all this doesn’t seem enough, the sight of the Moffat’s once impressive beard quite literally paling insignificantly against Mr Wells freshly fashioned effort might be worth the ticket price alone.
The ship only set sails properly on Friday, catch them across Europe…
Saturday 15th: Aberdeen, Lemon Tree
Sunday 16th: Newcastle, Black Swan at Newcastle Arts Centre
Tuesday 18th: Manchester, Deaf Institute
Wednesday 19th: London, Cargo
Thursday 20th: Cardiff, SWN Festival
Friday 21st: Liverpool, The Kazimer
Thursday 27th: Copenhagen, Loppen
Friday 28th: Stockholm, Stacken (Nalen)
Saturday 29th: Oslo, Bla
Monday 31st: Berlin, Heimathafen
Tuesday 1st: Frankfurt, Brotfabrik
Wednesday 2nd: Brussels, Botanique / Rotonde
Thursday 3rd: Amsterdam, Vondelkerk
Friday 4th: Paris, Fleche D’Or
Monday 7th: Rome, Circolo degli Artisti
Tuesday 8th: Bologna, Chiesa di Sant’Ambrogio
Thursday 10th: Barcelona, Razamatazz 3
Saturday 12th: Zurich, El Lokal