A review: The Bluebird Cafe, featuring fine food and Gabriel from Ber. Friday 23 May 2014.
Patrons of the Bluebird cafe in Canonmills were seen Friday night, their far from wretched arms outstretched through the gap in the outside door, begging passersby to let them stay inside.
No they weren’t just after staying behind to get fed again which is the usual reason. They were also wanting more of the off centre minstrelsy served up by the musical entertainment of the evening. The owner, aiding the passage of the finger gouges in the door jamb with a crow bar, struggled to close up.
The culinary quality that usually, rightfully, holds centre stage here was up against serious competition. In fact I know I run the risk of being banished to getting no closer to the Bird again than nose pressed against cold glass window lickery for this next sentence, but. The star of the evening was Gabriel, one half of Edinburgh duo Ber. There its said but I don’t imagine it will happen very often.
It’s just that Gabe’s take on the world both real and dream based is definitely individual. Unique in fact. Some comparisons are obvious. Like Tom Waits in his lyrical barfly pomp but Gabe’s vocals also evoke that comparison at times. Vocally there were moments where you could also glimpse Cash. Though the mans blues shouter like delivery sets his style apart from the two names mentioned just now.
The surrealism of the lyrics and the humour in them for me made the evening. Gabe visits various points in his life and his travels to introduce dream sequences featuring trees straight out of Mirkwood and knives called Mr Spoon. Its not all hardcore adult centered surrealism though theres enough of the Burl Ives whimsy of Big Rock Candy Mountain style to add charm and at times an innocent naive wit to balance the knowingness of some of his songs.
It all goes to show that while not all Gabriels are angels this one at least will have the management upstairs arguing with the Tom Parkers downstairs over who owns his contract.
(c) Jim Laing 2014.