Some of the best gigs are those that are greater than the sum of their individual parts. This was certainly the case with the show that Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert played at Omeara to mark the closing of a musical chapter. What ensued was a special coming together of music and atmosphere, as entertaining interactions with the crowd and polished performance combined to produce a memorable show.
Last year saw the pair release two albums, their debut Here Lies The Body and its Christmas-themed follow-up Ghost Stories For Christmas. Rather than work on a third release however, they’ve decided to go their separate ways, something they’ve termed their “conscious uncoupling”.
Tonight begins with two tracks from Here Lies The Body and they show the contrasting styles to Moffat’s lyrics. Cockcrow sees him shining light on a human relationship and shows how, as he gets older, greater tenderness is creeping into his lyrics. Any over-sentimentality is quickly brushed aside immediately after however as he announces Mz. Locum to be “a song about shagging”. He may have written a few over the years that fall into that category but lines like “I’m her prurient proxy, her discounted doxy, without her, I’ll live but less so” also reveal a renewed love of language and articulation. It also sees him use a maraca, after which he declares how he “gets a bit more Liam Gallagher each time I play it”, threatening to “go the whole hog, arms behind my back and tambourine around my head”.
Everything Goes, one of the most beautiful moments on Here Lies The Body, is next, Moffat describing it as being about “the breakdown of a family unit” but shrouding it in knowing self-deprecation. He continues to excel at surfacing some of life’s difficult, downcast episodes in his lyrics but never gets too bogged down in the seriousness of it all. Ahead of the upbeat Party On he simply announces “right – dance time!” while Wolves Of The Wood is one of the more atmospheric moments of the set, all animal noises and processed vocals.
As the show goes on the anecdotes and stories increase in number. Hubbert jokes about his name being left off the sign outside the venue, impersonating someone at the venue; “Ah, it’s just Aidan Moffat and some other cunt”. Moffat quickly quips how that’s the name of his next band. We get a story about how Moffat was rejected as the voice of a Guinness advert for being “too Scottish”, some swearily-dismissive Brexit commentary and a tale about stage-diving at a Napalm Death concert (not from Moffat sadly, but by a friend) ahead of their highly succinct cover of You Suffer by the same band. Later, they play Only You by Yazoo and Moffat adds it to the list of unlikely covers he’s made his own over the years (with vocal assistance from the crowd).
Devils Of Dusk, a song about satanism is suitably darker and Fringe shows Moffat to be an increasingly adept storyteller, intertwining tales of bodily functions with philosophical astronomy. Later, he introduces Quantum Theory Love Song as “a song about justifying infidelity with quantum theory – we’ve all been there, right?” A request from an audience member for Glasgow Jubilee, a song Moffat wrote with former partner Bill Wells receives a strong reply from Hubbert (“I am a fucking person!”) but adds to the convivial, humorous nature of the show.
Tonight showed how, together, they expand the everyday into something poetic and poignant. Laughter plays an equally big role in the show and they ensure everyone leaves the venue with a smile on their face. This may have been the end of a particular phase but we can’t help but look forward to whatever comes next for both.