The BIG Review: Radio Caley’s Freshers Acoustic Gig

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Every year the highlight of Glasgow Caledonian Univeristy’s freshers week is Radio Caley‘s acoustic gig and this year it was no different with great music from the likes of Manuel Corsetti and Mikey Smith amongst other local upcoming acts.

This is not the only music event being held by the hard-working people at the Student’s Association with nights earlier in the week at local drinking spot Walkabout starring Jameela Jamil and Sigma.

Intimate Beginnings With Mikey Smith
Intimate Beginnings With Mikey Smith

Tonight however, things kicked off with some in-house tunes from Radio Caley’s own Mikey Smith. Smith’s raw, rasping vocals and furious strumming put me in mind of Glasgow’s own Tommy Reilly. Atmospheric and totally stripped back Veranda Death Match and The Lucky Ones were highlights. Smith’s tunes were able to come across both heartfelt and edgy, which is a very difficult sound to achieve – reminiscent of Bob Dylan…

Up next was respected Glasgow busker Matt Spicer. Adding a bit of variety to his set with some drum box percussion Spicer’s twangy guitar beats and taps put me in mind of England’s scruffy singer-songwriters like Newton Faulkner and Ed Sheeran. His guitar skills certainly match those of the aforementioned stars and his nu-folk sound was beginning to engage the crowd.

Spicer Not To My Taste
Spicer Not To My Taste

Unfortunately after an audacious failed attempt at falsetto and a sleep-inducing cover of Coldplay’s Fix You which didn’t suit his voice, he lost the crowd again. Once moving back to some more upbeat stuff and sticking to his nu-folk roots with tracks like Good Love Is On The Way the atmosphere improved again. As I said above Spicer is a well respected local busker and this certainly won’t hurt his credibility but he needs to move away from doing covers to really make a name for himself.

Spanish-Scot Manuel Corsetti took to the stage soon after playing his first track live on STV Glasgow. Getting a great reception in front of the cameras Corsetti sang his first track in his native tongue.

Manuel Corsetti Added A Latin Flavour To Proceedings
Manuel Corsetti Added A Latin Flavour To Proceedings

Combining Latin style vocals with traditional British folk guitar beats Corsetti creates funky, lively vibes. His powerful voice and driving guitar strums create foot stomping, finger tapping tunes. Corsetti was the best of the night by far as he really imprinted his own personality and style onto the covers he did. Ranging from Alex Clare to Tom Petty Corsetti rattled through no less than six excellently executed covers as well as a few of his own including opening with the stunning Caraluna (below).  You can see part of Manuel’s set on STV Player now!

Headlining the night was another local singer-songwriter Matt Comley. Playing the event for the second year running Comley was invited back after going down so well the first time. The first track of his set, one of his own, Like A Flower was polished, safe pop. Not exactly a criticism I understand I mean Comley can sing and clearly has decent song-writing ability but it’s not exactly to my taste and, like others who performed on the night, is nothing more than a cover act.

Matt Comley
Matt Comley – A Radio Caley Freshers Veteran

Comley to his credit got the crowd going encouraging interaction with handclaps and getting people involved in singing those oh-so recognisable covers. His version of Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man was absolutely perfect and he truly made it his own with his trembling, haunting voice. Covers of John Legend and Passenger were surprising and excellent in equal measures however it must be said that his cover of Sean Kingston – Beautiful Girls truly left me suicidal and should never feature in his setlist again.

Overall a great night where the drink flowed and some good tunes were played, would’ve liked to have seen more acoustic sets from normally electric bands and overall less covers and more variety but still some great potential in there especially in Corsetti and Smith.

Calum Woodger

Pictures: Grant Reid

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