Times change. Not so long ago we wanted to lock up graffiti artists who decorated the sides of buildings. Nowadays we pay them to brighten up our cities.
It is similar with buskers too. Often seen as nuisances, the likes of Ed Sheeran, Sam Fender and Gerry Cinnamon prove that our streets can be paved with gold talent, on the road to filling stadiums.
Midlothian singer-songwriter Callum Beattie started performing solo, on the pavements of Edinburgh. He grabbed attention with anti-Tory tune Boris Song, but last night at a sold out Lemon Tree in Aberdeen he delivered a performance that suggests he won’t be going back to busking any time soon.
Opening the night was Kirriemuir’s Katie Nicoll, who played a bold solo set of her Taylor Swift-style tunes. The audience liked her, suggesting the young singer and guitarist will have had a good few more Spotify streams this morning.
Callum Beattie brings a five piece band for live show in Aberdeen
Callum Beattie’s latest album Vandals gripped the UK charts this year and the material got a good airing last night during a slick 75 minute set.
Back in 2016 he performed solo at the same venue, supporting KT Tunstall.
This time he brought an excellent five-piece live band with him, which took last night’s show up several notches, both in terms of sound and visual presentation.
Fiddle player Eryn Rae was particularly impressive, bringing a Celtic feel to the likes of Daddy’s Eyes and the epic Salamander Street.
Emotive, uplifting pop anthems
Beattie’s voice isn’t unique, but it is emotive and delivers songs in a way that conveys that they really matter to him. And what a set of uplifting guitar-driven pop anthems he has created.
What does he sound like? Throw some Springsteen, Dylan and Oasis into the blender and you wouldn’t be far off.
The breathless Heart Stops Beating has a mild echo of Born To Run in its catchy refrain and there were echoes of Sam Fender last night too, particularly in the singalong of Vandals.
Years of performing solo have made Callum Beattie a strong guitar-playing frontman. His energy, coupled with an ability to connect with the audience, created an uplifting atmosphere.
What was striking last night was the range of ages on show; from teenagers to folk old enough to be grandparents, suggesting this is an artist with wide appeal.
Next stop, the Music Hall…?
This show was one of a handful in intimate venues, but Beattie revealed to the audience that he will be returning to the Granite City soon, to play the much larger Music Hall.
More evidence that it won’t be long before it is arena stages that he will be walking onto. Catch him close up while you can.