A cold went night in February is probably the perfect night to see a band as in love with the idea of being Scottish as Angus McOg are even if the band may not be familiar with it the weather on this night was perfectly dreich.
First on was M G Boulter who was accompanied on the double Bass by Foulness' finest folkie Paul Ambrose and they had the job of enticing a few people downstairs from the bar to hear a very cool opening set that started with Matt singing about the Barbarian Times we seem to find ourselves in.
Matt then told us a story about how they used to see all the late-night city folks running for the last train back to Sarfend from Fenchurch Street and they were the inspiration for Night Worker that has some evocative lyrics about the mix of the just finished work and the totally drunk all trying to make that train home.
Fan of the band had some great bass lines in it as well as cool lyrics about some obsessive behaviour a cool song. Pilot was the first song that Paul Ambrose chose to play his double bass with a bow as well as strumming and plucking it as Matt's guitar picking got more fluid as the tale of the Pilot unfolded.
Then Matt was singing a rather downbeat song about Marie that plucked at our heartstrings before they got even sadder on Francis Forlorn during which Paul's bowing really accentuated the lyrics beautifully.
We then got a good driving song about going back home after a gig and Night Driving certainly evoked shooting down the A127 in the dead of night pretty well. They kept with the Night theme on new song Night At The Museum and yes it's based on what you think it's based on and once they have played it a few more times it will really flow nicely with the rest of the set.
They closed with Lulu The Bear that could almost be a soundtrack to a kids cartoon and it was good to hear a very different set of songs to the last time I saw Matt play not that long ago.
After the break it was time for Angus McOg who are a Scots obsessed Italian 4 piece whose Bass player had flown in from Bologna just for this show which is dedication for you. They had an awful lot of equipment onstage and every one of them played more than one instrument during the set.
They opened with an old song Fisher King that was more guitar led than some of the bands material and would have been perfect to put some waders on and try to catch some salmon too. Laika soon had Antonio Tavoni begging and pleading for her to comeback to him as the other guitarist played both his guitar and two or was it three of the sets of keyboards, he had arrayed in front of him and the keyboards sounded like he'd spent a little bit too long listening to Ligabue rather than The Pastels.
Turkish Delight had some good swirling keyboards and the guitars really brought us in nicely and made me want to go around the corner to any one of the local Turkish restaurants to eat. Chanting Mime Hands has a couple of cool Glockenspiel interludes as well as a good building sound and some interesting sounds from the Bass player.
The next song that I guess is called Day By Day had the first use of the Harmonium they had on stage and it was used to add texture as the sound built and was very atmospheric. Beginners sounded slightly out of place in this windowless room as Antonio sang about sitting by a window staring outside and the guitars and keyboards meshed nicely.
Ulysses felt almost like the band's centrepiece live, a very involving song with all sorts of stuff going on musically as they switch instruments and generally build a huge sound and then go off on one in a strangely almost typically Italian way.
Cold Sand really has a great Blaxploitation edge to it that live is reminiscent of Sacri Cuori or Don Antonio as much as it is of The Delgado's. Green Ocean Blue got nice and floaty and had a sort of spacey edge to it.
Between the Lines was Harmonium and keyboard led and had almost all the band playing different instruments and really brought the angst of a break up to life nicely. A Rooftop Love song saw them all switch back to guitars bass and drums with just a little flourish of synths and was it a dash of piano too it got hard to keep up.
They closed with too Love Somebody that had a quite delicious trumpet solo in it that had a good Chet Baker edge to it.
They came back for an encore that opened with a song I have down as It's Beautiful but might be something else either way it sounded good and kept us all happily listening.
They then closed by covering a song by another European band with Scots pretensions yes Deus whose Craig Ward put out a solo album a few years ago called New Third Lanark, but that's by the by as they covered Hotel Lounge in a nicely sparse mainly piano and keyboards arrangement that worked really well and it was a cool way to end a good set.