Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Ting Tings

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow - 26th Nov 2014

The Ting Tings

My first ever visit to King Tut's and I was suitably impressed. The posters lining the walls downstairs pay homage to the bands who have played in the past - from memory these included: Oasis, Radiohead, The Killers, Pulp, Biffy Clyro, Manic Street Preachers, Snow Patrol, Frightened Rabbit, Idlewind, Teenage Fanclub and Paolo Nutini. A really nice touch is the list of artists by year painted on each of the stair risers leading up to the performance area. Good beer, great pre-gig food, cheery service, and a quirky but really intimate gig venue upstairs.

The Ting Tings are  Katie White and Jules De Martino and this gig was the 4th in the tour to promote their new album Super Critical, released on 27th October 2014. 

I enjoyed their first album We Started Nothing, but their next release Sounds From Nowheresville was a little inconsistent. 

Packed crowd in King Tut's
Highlights from the new album were Wrong Club, Only Love, Do It Again and Communication, and a good proportion of the audience knew every word, but the stand-out songs in this live performance were still Shut Up and Let Me Go and a raw slow-starting version of That's Not My Name that increased in tempo and completed the first set.

The whole performance was memorable for a couple of things other than the powerful, singalong, dance tracks and the high energy chemistry between White and De Martino:
Get It Back
I was surprised at how accident-prone or spatially unaware Katie was on stage - the stage crew regularly dashing on to re-erect pieces of kit that she had knocked over. Perhaps that was down to the large shiny baseball cap (to keep her flowing locks in place) which kept slipping down over her eyes :-)  

I was also initially quite impressed with Katie's chucka-chucka guitar, while Jules laid down more guitar and drums, as I had not thought she played that much. However I began to notice that for every track, each guitar handed to her was pre-set with all the controls taped up to prevent adjustment, and there were predetermined chord positions marked on the back of the guitar neck. I subsequently discovered that this is just the way she always keeps on top of unnecessary tuning/adjustments etc. but it did make me smile.
Taped guitar

Despite that, the sound was excellent and the vocals (solo and harmonies) were spot on.The crowd were appreciative and bouncing so much that, on more than one occasion, I had to realign my pint glass on the rail in front of me as it kept edging forward threatening to douse the poor punters just below me.

The joint was jumpin' - That's Not My Name
Overall a hugely enjoyable set, and even if you are not a fan, I would recommend seeing The Ting Tings live just for the experience.

-- setlist --
Wrong Club
Do It Again
Shut Up and Let Me Go
Only Love
Great DJ
Get It Back
Fruit Machine
That's Not My Name
-- Encore --

Green Poison

The support was:

Ted Zed

Ted Zed is the alter-ego of Somerset based Edward Griggs. He jumped energetically onto the stage, guitar strapped on, looking like a young Jim Morrison (just a lot more cheerful) and his two fellow band members followed. 

Ted Zed 
The set-list was a real mix of retro sounding rock n roll, some very dance-oriented funk tracks and several out-and-out pop numbers. At times I was reminded of Bowie, then Bolan, with touches of Clapton-esque guitar, and throughout the bass and drums provided a gloriously punchy sound. 

Although referencing multiple influences, the songs were never ordinary; there was a uniqueness that made Ted's performance interesting and fun. 

The man himself couldn't stop grinning and frequently engaged with the King Tut's crowd - "I heard you were all really loud here, c'mon make some noise" and "This one's really funky, let's see some dancing" and on each occasion the crowd responded enthusiastically. 

Definitely an act to look out for in the future, and certainly worth seeing live.

-- setlist --
Same Old 
These Days 
Get Tough 
Give Me 
I'm Gold 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Jack White and Lucius

The SSE Hydro, Glasgow - 18th November

Jack White

I was really looking forward to Jack White for a number of reasons. Although never a massive White Stripes fan, I had been impressed with the quality of many of Jack's recent songs (as demonstrated by the number of bands out there who like to add a Jack White cover to their live set e.g. First Aid Kit, Ryan Adams ). Aside from his own work, I also like a lot of his covers of other artists' work, ranging from Captain Beefheart to Bob Dylan via Adele. 

The Hydro is a fairly large venue for White's style of down and dirty club rock, but the upper tiers were curtained off and only the first balcony was available above the standing-only floor area. The support act Lucius had warmed the crowd up, and  the arena floor was almost full. After a request not to film or photograph the concert, White and his band took to the stage under the ubiquitous blue lighting. 

Such was the level of guitar noise, feedback and fuzz, I almost didn't recognise the opening song Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.

With few exceptions this was to be the theme of every song. 

The exceptions: Hotel Yorba, We're Going to Be Friends and Would You Fight for My Love? were really good, and White's band were excellent - particularly Daru Jones (drums) and Lillie Mae Rische (violin and backing vocals).

Aside from these, virtually every song was performed with volume overkill and a 2 minute break of guitar feedback and screaming keyboards or some bizarre and largely out of tune "air harp". White's vocals were not great, and I really felt that the whole performance was so self-indulgent that it should merit an entrance fee refund.

Hugely disappointed, muttering Jack White rhyming slang under my breath, I left before the end of the first set. 

On reflection I began to think that perhaps my perception of the show was skewed, and somehow I had misunderstood some mischievous piece of Jack White brilliance, but probably not - other reviewers shared my views ("a commitment to cacophony which came at the cost of the original song"). Thinking back, I also remember noticing that, as I left the venue, during what turned out to be the last song of the initial set, about a quarter of the crowd were in the bar and foyer area well away from the chaos inside.

Thank goodness for the support band!

-- Setlist (allegedly)--
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (White Stripes)
Hypocritical Kiss 
Hotel Yorba (White Stripes)
Temporary Ground 
Top Yourself (Raconteurs)
Broken Boy Soldier (Raconteurs)
I Fought Piranhas (White Stripes)
Love Interruption 
We're Going to Be Friends (White Stripes)
Sugar Never Tasted So Good (White Stripes)
Would You Fight for My Love? 
I'm Slowly Turning Into You (White Stripes)
-- Encore --
High Ball Stepper 
Steady, As She Goes (Raconteurs)
Fell in Love With a Girl (White Stripes)
Missing Pieces 
Freedom at 21 
That Black Bat Licorice 
Seven Nation Army 

The support were:


I had seen Lucius fairly recently in a tiny venue in Dublin, and enjoyed them a lot, so I wondered how their brand of harmony fueled, percussion driven set would fare in this size of venue. 

The 5 of them took to the stage to relatively muted applause. A few die-hard Lucius fan at the front making most of the noise. Without any preamble they launched into a raw version of "Go Home", a slow, sparse, drum driven beginning, which ended with powerful vocal harmonies and some of Peter Lalish's epic guitar licks. 

A truly Gothic version of Tempest was next, soaring harmonies by all five, followed by the wonderful drum sequence of Nothing Ordinary. They sounded great, despite the cavernous venue. The Jack White fans began to take notice.

Jess, as usual, did the introductions - "Good evening Glasgow!" she said "We're Lucius" (She pronounced it Loo-Shuss). Thanks to Jack White for allowing us to support".

Doreen, the new single was next, followed by Jess apologising for competing with the football that night (Scotland England friendly at Hampden). She said "Sorry about taking you away from the football tonight. I know nothing of these things - I'm more of a home economics kinda girl."

By the time they got to Wildewoman and Genevieve, Jess and Holly were doing impressive demented marionette dancing, enhanced by their blonde bobs and furry collars, and the Glasgow crowd were jigging and taking lots of pictures.

Wildewomen [Photo credit: David James Swanson]

Turn It Around was a lovely Farfisa sprinkled song with Jess and Holly drumming, singing and playing organ. 

Finally Jess introduced the last song " As we're in the UK it's only fitting that we do a Kinks cover" she said "This song is called Strangers and we're going to be joined by some special guests". Dominic Davis (bass guitar and upright bass) and Lillie Mae Rische (violin and backing vocals) from Jack White's band strolled on and Strangers was a genuine masterpiece with all three ladies sharing one microphone, with the guitars providing glorious backing. This was a very melodic, and nicely crafted finish to the set. 

The applause on their departure was considerably louder than on arrival. Perhaps a few new Lucius fans were born that night.

-- Setlist --
Go Home
Nothing Ordinary 
How Loud Your Heart Gets
Turn It Around
Strangers (Kinks cover)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Frazey Ford

Òran Mór, Glasgow - 13th November 2014

Frazey Ford

Frazey Ford is a Canadian singer-songwriter. She was a founding member of the Be Good Tanyas. Her solo debut album 'Obadiah' was released in July 2010. This tour is to promote the new album 'Indian Ocean' which was released in October 2014
Frazey Ford
I first heard about Frazey on one of NoiseTrade's regular emails, this time offering the Frazey Ford Five EP with 5 selected tracks from Obadiah and Indian Ocean. I listened, downloaded for a nominal sum, then immediately purchased both albums. 

Indian Ocean is my favourite of the two albums at the moment. Part of what gives Indian Ocean its special appeal is the work of Al Green’s band, The Hi Rhythm Section, the architects of the famous singer's instrumental sound. Brothers Charles Hodges (organ), Leroy Hodges (bass) and Teenie Hodges (guitar), helped Green pen some of his most famous songs. Sadly, Teenie Hodges passed away in June this year during the recording of Indian Ocean. The album is dedicated to his memory. Listen to the track September Fields with The Hi Rhythm Section, recorded in Memphis.

On this occasion the band comprised: 
Craig McCaul (guitar), Frazey Ford (guitar and vocals), Leon Power (drums and vocals), Darren Parris (bass) with Sophia and Sarah Marshall (backing vocals).
Craig McCaul, Frazey Ford, Leon Power, Darren Parris, Sophia and Sarah Marshall
The venue was setup as all seated, unusually for Oran Mor, but this provided a rather intimate atmosphere as Frazey and her band took to the stage. She was dressed in an eye-catching glittery dress with feathery fascinator in her hair and engaged with the audience - a little shyly at first.

The opener was You're Not Free, a slow building storm of a song. This was a more stripped back version of the album track, missing the organ and horns, but McCaul made up for it on guitar.

If You Gonna Go was next. A song about love, loss and being free, from the Obadiah album. Interesting side note, the album takes its name from Ford's middle name "Obadiah". When she was born, her parents asked her brothers to choose her middle name; they decided to name her after their pet cat Obadiah that had recently run away.
Frazey said "We just did this one today at the Beeb" and You Got Religion was next. I think she and the band did a session for Cerys Matthews for BBC6Music - due to be broadcast on Sunday 10:00-13:00

Frazey took a little time out to chat to the crowd. Telling us that she and the band had been out and about in Glasgow "sampling the strange meats of our land". Craig McCaul was partial to the smoked salmon apparently, and Darren Parris loved haggis. Frazey pulled a face and said "we learned about that at school - minced guts. I could never eat that!" She went on to say she used to think the Scottish accent was cute, and after a day in Glasgow she still did.

She then chatted about working in Memphis with the Hodges brothers - The Hi Rhythm Section, and how their influence showed in the next song, Runnin'. We missed the organ playing from the album track on this live version, but once again McCaul's guitar filled that void beautifully.

One of her concerns when recording the album was that Charles Hodges, the organist was a full blown reverend minister, and one track in particular contained quite a lot of profanity. Frazey hoped he would not be offended. After listening carefully he apparently said "Well girl, you really told him!" and "Sing it and get him out of your system".  The track was 'Done' and that was next. Done tells of a relationship breakdown, the intensity of Ford’s words masked by her own delivery style and the gentle country rhythm of the band.

Frazey's singing style is unusual, the words often slightly slurred, scrunched together and almost impressionistic but delivered in such a soulful vocal. Think Rickie Lee Jones on a bender meets Cat Powers. That's not to say that the lyrics are throwaway, every line counts, as demonstrated again and again. 

September Fields, introduced as a "Gospel song about nature and Aretha Franklin" was particularly good live, with every member of the band and backing vocals in perfect sync.

While tuning her guitar, Frazey talked about growing up with the music of Bob Dylan. Not just the music, but regular lectures from her Dad on the various phases of Dylan's career - Acoustic, Electric and so on. She said her response at that time was "He can't even sing Dad!" but her views had changed with time. The next song was a Dylan cover, a Frazey favourite because of Emmylou Harris' vocals - One More Cup of Coffee. 
Frazey Tuning
I love the Desire album, and this song is a long time favourite of mine too, but Ms Ford and band did it justice. A slow paced masterpiece.

Another story from Frazey. Again it was about recording the new album in Memphis and how she had considered doing a cover of Al Green's Let's Stay Together, but the brothers Hodges fell out over one particular chord - and all stormed out of the recording studio. The sound engineer, another veteran of the Al Green days told her "Don't play that song. They've been arguing about that chord for nearly 40 years" so she and the remaining band members began rehearsing Weather Pattern. On about the third run-thru, the brothers began to drift back into the studio and picked up their instruments, gradually joining in. So she felt that Weather Pattern was a healing track, and that was next in the set. A delicate and deceptively simple song about mortality, it is one of a number of songs from the new album that use nature to express feelings of love, loss, anger. 

A "song about a crush" - I like You Better - was next, followed by Blue Streak Mama, and that was the end of the set. 

Encores were called for. Frazey and band took their time, but the crowd were insistent.

Firecracker (song about a character who burns fast) was a welcome "oldie" from Obadiah.
This was followed by my currently most played song, the title track from the Indian Ocean album. 

That was it. A really beautiful and very soulful set from Frazey and the band. Not to mention the layered backing vocals from the Marshall sisters.

Go see them if you can - you won't regret it.

-- Setlist --
You're Not Free
If You Gonna go 
You got Religion
Three Golden Trees
Bird of Paradise  
September Fields 
One More Cup of Coffee. 
Natural Law
Weather Pattern
I Like You Better
Blue Streak Mama
-- Encore --
Firecracker - Character who burns fast -
Indian Ocean

The support was:

Sophia Marshall

Sophia is from Leicester and spent the past few years as one-half of the now defunct band The HaveNots (Cooking Vinyl Records) with Liam Dullaghan, releasing a couple of albums - Never Say Goodbye and Bad PenniesNow flying solo, she is writing and recording new material for her solo debut album due for release in early 2015. 

Sophia was accompanied on stage by her two "able assistants" sister Sarah Marshall and Andy Jenkinson. Jenkinson and Sarah Marshall have worked together as two thirds of a band called ButterflyPolite. 

They started with Living Things, a beautiful track, with Jenkinson on bass and her sister Sarah on what looked like a guitalele (guitar/ukulele cross). The harmonies were lovely, but Sophia's voice stood out. 
Sophia and Sarah
Devil & The Hollow was next, Sarah on bass and Jenkinson adding some lovely riffs on a classical guitar. 

Sophia announced that she had some concerns about the song Missing Piece. "It always seems to get faster and faster" she said. Jenkinson drew some laughs when he shouted out "1, 2, 3, 4" in double-quick time. There were no problems with tempo increasing however and Missing Piece along with Sunglasses and Wasted Days were the highlights of the set for me.  

Sophia's songs and vocals kept the audience's attention and although her microphone could have been a little louder, she shone performing these newly written pieces. She sounds something like Linda Ronstadt meets Emmylou Harris and although initially a little nervous I felt, she settled as the set progressed and by the last three songs she really impressed.
Andy, Sophia and Sarah
Sarah's harmonies were gorgeous and Jenkinson's abilities on guitalele and guitar really added depth and interest to the songs. Underpinning it all was some lovely songwriting by Sophia. Overall this was an understated but really tight and very memorable performance by all three.

Sophia and Sarah returned later to perform backing vocals for Frazey Ford. A long night for them indeed.

I will look out for the release of Sophia's new album next year with great interest. In the meantime I bought the Limited Edition CD - According to her website "An exclusive three track CD will be available on the Frazey Ford tour only.  This CD will include two tracks from the very last and so far unreleased HaveNots album produced by Chris Mills and Ryan Hembrey in Chicago almost a decade ago. These tracks will not be available online.

--Setlist --
Living Things
Devil & The Hollow
Call Them By Age
Missing Piece
Wasted Days

Wednesday, 5 November 2014


The Corn Exchange, Edinburgh 05th Nov 2014


Wiki says - Chvrches (pronounced as "churches" and stylised as CHVRCHΞS) are a Scottish electronic band, formed in 2011. They chose the name Chvrches, using a Roman "v" to avoid confusions with actual churches on internet searches. The group consists of Lauren Mayberry (lead vocals, additional synthesisers, and samplers), Iain Cook (synthesisers, guitar, bass, vocals), and Martin Doherty (synthesisers, samplers, vocals).  

Chvrches at The Corn Exchange Nov 2014
I have heard and liked much of their music, but was never enamoured enough to seek out the CD or vinyl, preferring to download the The Bones of What You Believe digital album last year. However, I recently saw some live footage of them performing 'We Sink' and 'Under The Tide', and was impressed enough to seek out tickets for this, their current tour. Arriving early enough to take up a coveted spot in the mosh-pit against the crowd barrier, I prepared myself for Chvrches.

Too many laser lights can be bad for your health
Two things struck me immediately as the trio took to the stage - the light-show was definitely going to be amazing, and the volume was turned up to 11 at least. I've never seen so many sychronised lasers and the last time I felt my entrails in such perfect synch with the bass was when I saw John Entwistle's Ox in the Edinburgh Student Health Centre in 1970-something.

"We’re a band called Chvrches," announced singer Lauren Mayberry, with a grin. "Thank you for coming to see our show" and they kicked off the set.

Iain Cook and Martin Doherty accompanied the bitter sweet voice of Lauren Mayberry with the powerful, bass-driven synth melodies on 'We Sink' and 'Lies' - the show's two opening tracks. The lights and sounds stunned the crowd as Mayberry danced centre-stage with the microphone cable wrapped around her hands, occasionally using it as a lasso swirling above her head. Her stage presence was relaxed and confident, unlike some live footage I'd previously seen. 

With the first 3 or 4 tracks under their belts, Mayberry took a minute of two to chat to the crowd. 'This is the first time we've played Edinburgh in ages' she said, 'couple of years I think'. Cook gently reminded her that they'd played the Hogmanay gig in Princes Street Gardens last year. 'Oh yeah' she went on '...well our first proper venue gig in ages'. 

Two wee lassies at the front in Pink Rabbit onesy's were singled out by Mayberry, much to their delight. "What are you wearing?" she enquired, before saying "Well I'm not judging - if it wasn't so hot up here I might wear a onesy myself"

She pulled out her earpieces and started  some banter with the crowd but she couldn't really hear the responses, so she said "OK, I'm going to put these back in my ears so that we don't get into a complex situation where you think I'm ignoring you and I can't hear what you're saying, and all that good stuff". Her relaxed confident style, and little asides from Cook and Doherty suggest that they have all benefited stage-wise from their recent extensive touring. 

'Recover' was a real high volume, synthesiser powered anthem, but I feel that it is Mayberry's sweet, endearingly fragile vocals that make the song special, and in general where Chvurches' appeal lies. 

Having said that, one of the highlights of the show for me was 'Under the Tide' where synth player Martin Doherty took over lead vocals and provided us with some energetic (and unusual) dancing that got every single person in the hall moving along with him. 

Mayberry: "When I was young I always wanted to be a backing vocalist. I used to watch Top Of The Pops and study all those cool hand movements, plus not getting recognised in the street. I could have been one of Gabrielle's backing vocalists. Anyway, if this all goes to rats, I could still have a career as a keyboard playing backing vocalist."

The crowd were enthusiastic throughout, but they really got into their stride, singing and bouncing to the big signature tracks like Recover and The Mother We Share. The latter of which was their final song. The trio clapped the crowd and headed off stage. 

Things began to get pretty hectic in the mosh-pit as youngsters jostled to get closer for the expected encores, so I headed to the back of the hall. Partly to avoid being crushed by the devotees, but also to give my ears a well deserved recovery period from the volume. 

The band returned to slow things down a little with You Caught the Light, followed by the more upbeat crowd pleasers 'Dead Air' and 'By the Throat'.

Good gig, but I really felt that the sound quality suffered at the hands of the volume. 
I thought perhaps it was my position right at the front, but after retiring to a safer distance, it was exactly the same. Most of the vocals were kinda buzzy, affected by the very high bass level. Kinda like you might get if your home hi-fi speakers were not quite up the specification of your amplifier, but you insisted on turning it up full anyway. Just distortion. Not all the time, but it was apparent on almost every song.

Chvrches still delivered a very memorable set, and I think are destined for great things.

-- Setlist --
We Sink 
Night Sky 
Get Away (new)
Under the Tide 
The Mother We Share 

-- Encore --
You Caught the Light 
Dead Air 
By the Throat 


I knew nothing of Melissa Jefferson, better known by her stage name Lizzo, before this gig. According to Wiki, she is an American alternative hip hop artist who moved from Detroit to Houston, then finally to Minneapolis in 2011. She is a founding member of indie hip hop groups The Chalice, Grrrl Prty, The Clerb, and Absynthe. Her debut album, Lizzobangers, was released in 2013


Wearing a massive blonde curly wig (or was that her own barnet?), and backed by Sophia Eris on decks, beats and loops, she stirred up the crowd. She had a pretty good voice when she sang, but most of the songs weren't sung. She rapped a lot and used the F-word a lot. 
She changed the lyrics of 'Paris' to incorporate the words 'Kilt, Edinburgh (instead of Paris) and bagpipes'. Firing off confetti cannon, distributing balloons into the audience and getting one young guy (Peter from Glasgow) up on stage to 'twerk' with her and win a coveted "Lizzo Made Me Do It" t-shirt, her set was good fun.
She even had the crowd teaching her how to pronounce Edinburgh correctly, rather than the traditional US pronunciation "Edin-Bo-Row"
Her music was not something I would have normally chosen to listen to, but this was an entertaining support set.

-- Setlist --
Turn Down for What (DJ Snake & Lil Jon cover)
Bus Passes and Happy Meals 
New Eyes (Clean Bandit collaboration/cover)
Batches & Cookies (feat. Sophia Eris)

Monday, 3 November 2014

Edwyn Collins and Grace Maxwell

Filmhouse, Edinburgh - 03rd November 2014

The Possibilities Are Endless

I've been a fan of Edwyn Collins since the days of Orange Juice and Postcard Records.  I have seen him live about 7 times over the years, and followed his career with interest. So I jumped at the opportunity to attend this rather special film premiere.  

On February 20, 2005, Edwyn Collins collapsed at home while suffering from a major brain haemorrhage. To put it very bluntly, that could all too easily have been the end of him. It would have drawn the curtain on the fascinating, distinctive career of a singer and songwriter, initially part of Scottish pop-soul originals Orange Juice, and then as a well respected solo artist.

But it didn’t. Collins was rushed to hospital and suffered a second haemorrhage. He was kept in intensive care for weeks, his life hanging in the balance. But despite the strokes and contracting a hospital acquired MRSA infection, he survived. Afterwards, the effects were devastating: he couldn’t move without assistance, couldn’t read, write or even speak without great difficulty. His memory of his own career and songs was virtually non-existent. But he did have the unfailing love and support of his wife and manager, Grace Maxwell. Within two years, he was speaking, reading, writing, recording and playing live again. That’s not to say the haemorrhage hasn’t left its mark. But he did it. And The Possibilities are Endless is the story of how he did it.

When he did come round some time later, he was able to say only four things: “yes”, “no”, “Grace Maxwell” (his wife’s name) and “the possibilities are endless”. 

“It sounds profound,” said Grace in the post-film Q&A chat "but when you've heard it 85 times in a day, it seems slightly less so.” Big smiles from Edwyn and Grace at this point.

This was the pre-release premiere of James Hall and Edward Lovelace's remarkable film documenting Edwyn's recovery through video footage, stark symbology and the narration by Edwyn and Grace. The viewing of the film was followed by a question and answer session with Grace, Edwyn and Ed Lovelace and then an acoustic session with Edwyn and David Page. 

Ed Lovelace, Grace and Edwyn answer audience questions
Essentially, the film is in three sections, mirroring the three stages that Collins went through. The first third is almost entirely abstract and expressionistic. The film begins with long sweeping shots of isolated landscapes, and then cuts to a clip of Edwyn and his band (Paul Cook on drums, Clare Kenny on bass, Steve Skinner on guitar) performing A Girl Like You, followed by a short interview in which Edwyn is at his most entertaining, on the Conan O'Brien show in 1995.

Sudden cut to complete blackness,  which lasted 10 seconds or so, signifying the brain hemorrhages.  What follows is a steady stream of images of landscapes and nature – particularly of water – plus a few unknown, nonspeaking figures popping up. Over this, there’s evocative incidental music composed by Collins especially for the film, and audio of Collins and Maxwell talking about the terrifying experience of his haemorrhage. But they’re not really describing it as such. They’re talking about how it felt. At no point are the exact details of Collins’s ordeal spelled out. It’s almost like some experimental, illustrated radio play. Viewers could feel unsettled and lost, but it’s nothing to what Collins himself must have gone through. It’s a strange, and very captivating portrayal of a frankly unimaginable ordeal.

Next we’re on to his release from hospital and slow struggle with his condition. Here, things get a bit more tricksy and inventive. Collins and Maxwell are seen back at home, quietly trying to piece their lives, and Collins’s health, back together. But evidently they’re re-enacting these trying moments from a few years ago, which strikes an odd chord. It can be powerful stuff, though, particularly when we see Collins watching clips of his younger pop star self without a flicker of recognition on his face, only bewilderment.

There’s also some filling in of the couple’s back story, with their teenage son, William, appearing in footage as a younger Collins, and Yasmin Paige (of Submarine fame) as young Maxwell. There’s no dialogue though, just a few evocative moving scenes touching on their courtship. Obviously it is a difficult part of the story to convey successfully, but in among so much that’s homespun and organic and genuine, this slightly gauche fabrication does jar a tad. It’s probably the only slight stumble in the whole film.

The final section is on surer ground. The presentation opens up, with Collins and Maxwell shown in snatched, unstaged moments, as he gingerly resumes his recording and performing career. He’s back in action, in his element, surrounded by banks of guitars, studio equipment, adoring audiences – and Maxwell. Wrapped in a duffle-coat, walking with a cane, he becomes a genuinely, unexpectedly heroic figure.

In his youth, Collins was so witty and eloquent that it’s heart-wrenching to see him defeated by language. The phrase deployed as the film’s title was, in fact, one of the very few things, other than Maxwell’s name, that he could say in the immediate aftermath of his hospitalisation. But in time he overcomes this, and towards the end he’s laughing and teasing young William, and mock-bickering with Maxwell (she takes his ‘Sharon Osbourne’ jibe surprisingly well).

Plus, his current, hesitant, round-about mode of expression often hits the nail squarely on the head. For instance, he compares, with awesome honesty, his old and new selves: “Possibly, before my stroke, I was a bit too focused. No, no – I was nice, don’t get me wrong. But I was arrogant, in a way. I’m over that phase.” Or, on the changing nature of love: “Back then, love was lust. Loving is sometimes complex. Nowadays, love is real.” Would that we all had such devastating insight. On a lighter note, Collins’s deep, irrepressible chuckle, which is heard more and more as the film goes on,  is absolutely uplifting, too. His ability to sing much more fluently than speak, was according to Edwyn, a very welcome surprise. 

Grace and Edwyn share a joke en-route to Helmsdale
Really, it’s a highly unconventional love story, about Collins being nurtured and saved by Maxwell – but it’s very far from lovey-dovey and sickly sweet, thank heavens. It’s never over-egged, but the dialogue between them, whether it’s spoken or not, is what drives the whole thing. Maxwell, incidentally, has already told her side of this story in her 2009 book Falling and Laughing, which surely helped to inspire the film, but which takes a much more conventional route.

The post film acoustic session was a beautiful finish to the evening. And if, after all he’s been through, you can get through the performance of his song "Home Again" without a tear, frankly you're made of sterner stuff then me.

Had the opportunity to chat to Grace and Edwyn after the event, where Edwyn signed my brand new copy of the Possibilities OST album, slowly and meticulous adding his moniker to the sleeve. I suggested that as the new studio in Helmsdale took shape there would be less and less need for them both to travel to and from London. Would this be an end to Edwyn's travel twitter musings I wondered? Grace laughed and said "Not likely, that will continue I am sure, but I have to admit that Edwyn's constant need for wi-fi password assistance in hotels and on trains will be a blessing." Edwyn gives her a lopsided grin. "It's the first thing he does when he wakes up" said Grace "what's the password? "

The good humoured banter between them sealed for me, a lovely and quite emotional evening. 

 I do think that the film posters should really say "Starring Edwyn Collins and Grace Maxwell" though.