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  • Writer's pictureDanny C

Mull Historical Society, Oran Mor, Glasgow 08-02-24

I’ve got a general rule that It has to be a special artist to lure me through to Glasgow from Edinburgh on a midweek night (extra time to and from, extra cost, the overall hassle factor of buses, trains, taxis and generally not getting home til near 1am with work in the morning) but Colin McIntryre’s Mull Historical Society are just that. Special.

This was a show of two halves and the first was songs from a concept that came to be after Colin McIntyre was invited to go back to the flat above the bank where he worked in Tobermory during Colin’s earlier years. An album was then started as a collaboration with a bunch of the country’s top authors who were asked for contributions, based on a room that's important to them. We were lucky enough to have the legends; Liz Lochhead, James Robertson and Val McDermid in the room, who all came on stage, spoke, performed and even sang with the band. To quote Val's words, the place was rammed and crammed because Oran Mor was packed with the sold out crowd squeezed into cramped seating, which a lot of people gave up on for the second set to stand at the back instead (me included).

To begin Colin McIntyre came on stage for the first couple of songs by himself to the sounds of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir singing The Isle Of Mull, dressed in a natty velvet jacket (that may or may not have been his wife's). When the band joined him, the next 90 minutes were filled with great tunes, stories of each songs origins of how the authors contributed, a few guest appearances and performances. Fun fact: Hot Chocolate stayed in the Scottish writer, Alan Warner’s relative’s hotel in Oban for a show before they were famous and left without paying their bill (allegedly) which infuriated Warner’s grandad every time they appeared on Top of the Pops after making it big!

Due to the overrun of the first set (not that anyone was complaining) the planned run through of songs from classic Mull Historical albums, This Is Hope, Loss and Us, felt a bit rushed but still great all the same. Colin’s songs are beautifully written, have a warmth to the melodies that just light up a room and choruses that are as uplifting as anything you’ll hear live. They ticked off classics like Watching Xanadu, How ‘Bout I Love You More, the self-titled Mull Historical Society and more, finishing their encore for the stage curfew at 10.30 with their first single Animal Cannibus (which “broke into the UK top 41” on release). They could’ve played twice as long as the crowd were on their feet and singing along at top voice to every word by that point. 

A personal highlight for me, was snagging a setlist from the sound guy near the end and managing to get both Val McDermid and a fresh from stage at the merch stall, Colin McIntyre himself to sign it for me to make my journey west all the more worthwhile.

A wonderful gig and to quote one of his early evening quotes to sum up the night, Mull Historical Society, “I think you got away with that”!

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