Gig of the Month: the Mull Historical Society at the ICA (last night)
Only three icons of any cultural importance have ever come out of the Scottish island of Mull - Tobermory the Womble, the children's TV programme Balamory and Colin MacIntyre. Colin's the singer of the Mull Historical Society, a refreshingly ordinary yet extraordinary guitar band, playing last night at the long white arty building up the top of the Mall. Support was provided by the astonishing Alice McLaughlin, a wild-eyed marionette who sang heartfelt jazz/soul ballads with breathtaking conviction. And then our Colin was on, showcasing his latest album This Is Hope as well as audience-pleasing favourites from previous singalong classics Loss and Us. The stage should have featured a 15 foot fibreglass dog in a wig (does any band have a better logo?) but alas it had been stolen earlier. Colin threw himself into the performance with innocent gusto, leaping round the stage, sweating buckets and managing somehow at one point not to topple headlong off the piano stool into the audience. The new songs suggest he's not lost his songwriting sparkle, but the older songs still won the night for me. Well worth beating the tube strike to see, and ten times more inspiring than that other anodyne concert held up the Mall recently.