John Alexander – The Glad Cafe, Glasgow – March 8, 2024

Written by on March 9, 2024


JOHN ALEXANDER is in glorious form on his latest album, ‘Face The Wind’ – and in this live setting he delivers its tracks in a potent and compelling manner, his downbeat vocals and atmospheric guitar work, nurtured by a downright brilliant one-night stand of band.

The album is an 11-track gem that’s lyrically rich and hearteningly melodic and features songs written after wet and windy walks to the pub – Bullets In the Rain – or from a random word generator challenge, which is the source of Breathe.

He opens in warming, acoustic fashion with Doghouse Roses’ Iona MacDonald duetting like a dream: the two flawlessly tackle his downbeat, topical tales with an infectious charm. It’s the perfect start.

The full band section of the show is a major league hit –the music is never less than stirring with John showing his poise and drive on lead guitar with mini breaks to savour. Paul Tasker (Doghouse Roses) is no mean guitarist, either, and he’s given freedom to fire off in fine direction on a couple of occasions.

Iona MacDonald and John Alexander

This Side of the Glass is the jauntiest track we get with the raucous rhythm of The Faces evident while Long Way From Gone gets a heartier treatment than the gorgeous one on the record. But tonight’s version makes an equal impact with John and Iona’s mellow vocals underpinned by the band’s mature determination to keep things interesting.

White Noise is pushed out precise and fiery while Fault and Blame – the name of a pub where John and Paul once jammed – rolls and dips in a casually, gentle bluesy way.

It’s been an absolute joy to be in John’s musical company – unfussy but quality performances like this lift the spirits unimaginably.

Words and images : MIKE RITCHIE

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