What better way to enjoy a Friday night in London than to spend it with revered Scottish ‘miserabilists’, Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert? It’s their last ever London show and you’d forgive a few tears yet the reality is that both are pretty chipper and this is an upbeat affair. As upbeat as downbeat can get anyway.
Hubby sits throughout, sometimes singing, but mostly adding crisp flamenco rolls over which Aidan offers his trademark Scottish scrawl. Spoken word poetry interspersed with moments of sheer beauty when things resembling choruses kick in. Siobhan Wilson sits behind the pair adding vocal and violin depth. “This is another song about shagging the wrong person”, says Aidan, giving the crowd exactly what they want.
It’s the humour, the banter and the camaraderie that gets Hubby and Aidan through the night. They’re mates from that hidden bar snug you’ve always wanted to discover, jibing with each other to mask their obvious mutual respects. Accidentally and with no ill intent, Hubby comments that the tea-towels at the merch desk might be of more use as a Christmas present for women and Aidan, after revelling in the rightful response such gender stereotyping produces, helps his friend out by being even more of a cunt. “My girlfriend fucking hates me”, he observes before playing “another tune about the breakdown of the family unit.”
“Brexit’s going well”, says Aidan in trademark sarcastic manner before Hubby follows up with “you’re all welcome to visit us when we’ve independence”. Hubby’s only a tad pissed off that his name isn’t there with Aidan’s above the entrance to the Omeara. “I’m not even going to get fucking paid for this show”, he jokes whilst Aidan looks on amused.
“How come you don’t sing our songs back at us?“, shouts Aidan when the beardy and bespectacled crowd (that’s just the women) sing along to the stripped-back reading of Yazoo’s ‘Only You’. The sad longing of the tune comes to the fore under Aidan’s baritone – but let’s face it, he has the ability to make the happiest of texts seem mournful. In the running joke of the night, the crowd try to force a cover of Wonderwall out of the pair but they’re having none of it. We do get a Napalm Death cover, “You Suffer”, though. It’s brief but still a 12 inch remix on the original.
Welshman, John Mouse, is an entirely appropriate support act for the evening. Those gathered probably know that he’s not the reggae ‘John Mouse’ or the mis-spelt ‘John Maus’ yet John still sees fit to explain. At times he plays a Fender strat; at other times, it’s just John and a backing tape. His largely spoken-word story tales are dark and appear to be about childhood memories of injury or death yet the bright, bossa-nova beats and incongruous dance moves mask the subject matter. I’m reminded that one of his tunes – all about breakdancing to electric boogaloo and other memories of being a youngster in the 1980’s has been recommended to me by Spotify before. I resolve to check out more after being taken aback by his tune about the man down the road who’s bothering him.
The end is nigh for Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert. They finish with Car Song, the first tune they ever wrote together. And it sounds as beautiful tonight as it ever has. I’m willing to bet that nobody in the crowd wants this to be over and such is the response I wouldn’t be surprised if Aidan and Hubby aren’t having second thoughts themselves.