Gig review: Callum Beattie; Cabaret Voltaire

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FOR SOME time now, local lad Callum Beattie has been on the cusp of getting his break, gigging solidly, slowly building a reputation as a talented young singer-songwriter and earning some exciting opportunities, even appearing on Sky 1 talent show Must Be The Music.

Although he didn’t make it to the final stages, he still impressed judges Dizzee Rascal and Jamie Cullum with self-penned composition Keep Calm and Carry On, and his celebrity fans haven’t forgotten him either, with Dizzee tweeting a link to the 22-year-old’s new music video Salamander Street earlier this week.

So it’s not surprising to find a capacity crowd, bolstered by family and friends eager to show their support, packing out Cabaret Voltaire tonight for the launch of his debut album This Time This Place.

He certainly seems at ease, delivering a 45-minute set that’s confident and assured, testament to the hard work he’s put in serving his apprentice playing the city’s pubs and clubs.

Despite having only been playing live with his backing band for two months, there are no problems on that front, the additional onstage instrumentation providing much more depth and scope to his songs, doing them more justice than the simple acoustic shows we’ve been used to seeing him perform.

In terms of influences, there’s a definite hint of early Stereophonics across the board, while ballad Falling Down is in the mould of David Gray and the upbeat Eva is more than a little reminiscent of Paolo Nutini.

He might not have an endless supply of material but, on the whole, what he does have is radio-friendly and ready to go. Tunes like Movin’ On and What Is Everybody Looking For display Beattie’s knack for creating big, sing-along choruses and it’s easy to imagine a few thousand fans belting out them out a few years down the line.

Tracks such as Where Are You Now and Cast are a little insipid, lacking the punch and power of their counterparts, and overall things are a bit lightweight lyrically, but there’s more than enough promise here to suggest he’s worth keeping an eye on.

Rating: * * *