Belfast is Bouncing : Gerry Cinnamon Live
Castlemilk legend Gerry Cinnamon kicked off his sold out 2019 UK arena tour with a bang at the SSE in Belfast.
After the crowd had been warmed up by the support from fellow Glaswegian Dylan John Thomas and old school Merseyside Rockers the Coral, the lights go down and the familiar operatic sounds play through the speakers. After a rumble of static and distorted noise, the familiar pre-concert chant to the tune of ‘Give It Up’ by KC & the Sunshine Band begins. Just as the music stops, confetti cannons explode into the audience and Gerry bounces onto the stage, hyping up the crowd with his usual energy and enthusiasm.
“What’s happenin’ Belfast?” Gerry greets his fans as they all clap and cheer, eager to see what surprises his arena shows have in store. A familiar ‘here we fuckin’ go’ echoes over the arena as Gerry begins strumming the open E chord to his famous opener ‘Lullaby’. Cinnamon’s setlist was the same as usual for the first 5 songs; lullaby, sometimes, fickle mcselfish, what have you done, and fortune favours the bold.
A welcomed change of pace came when Dark Days, which had been released just hours before the show, made its debut. Cinnamon belted out the lyrics with raw emotion as the stage behind him changed to a wash of electric purple with lightning bolts striking across. “Dark days but I’ve got sun rays; these are the best days that you’re ever gonna have” he tells his fans who sing along to every word. The powerful song instils the audience with hope as Cinnamon sings of how he soldiers on through life’s trials with optimism and wonder. This message of hope, backed by some joyous acoustic guitar and his trademark harmonica, the new tune energises the crowd and as the song comes to an end, they’re ready for more.
Next up on the setlist is Keysies, which Cinnamon sings in his usual melancholic way, making the audience nostalgic for their childhood as a video of a boy running through a field with a toy plane plays behind him. War TV and Kampfire Vampire are played next followed by The Bonny. Despite it being unreleased the crowd knew every word to The Bonny as they sang along sharing Cinnamon’s powerful enthusiasm.
As his set draws to a close, Gerry gets the audience going again with his well-known hit Belter which of course sends them into an absolute uproar. Keeping with the upbeat feel next Cinnamon pleases the crowd with Canter. As the song finishes Cinnamon thanks his fans and walks off stage.
After a few moments of the crowd chanting “Encore! Encore! Encore!”, Gerry walks back on stage, bringing Ocean Colour Scene’s bassist Dan Sealey with him. With just his acoustic guitar and Sealey to back him up, Cinnamon plays Sun Queen-another unreleased song. Those close enough to the stage can see Gerry tear up as he humbly tells the audience “sing my songs, never thought I’d make it this far”. This is an experience like no other; Cinnamon sings with the deepest level of authenticity and emotion so infectious that his fans connect to the lyrics as they sing along, some of them crying too.
After Diamonds in the Mud, Gerry picks up his guitar for the last time and begins strumming along to his cover of Discoland. The ultimate feel-good closing song; Discoland has the audience wildly bouncing along to the beat produced with his ‘box of mayhem’. Jumping around the stage with unbelievable energy, Cinnamon has the audience captivated. A perfect close to another magical live performance from Cinnamon.
As Gerry leaves the stage the atmosphere in the Arena remains the same. Instead of rushing out of the venue immediately the crowd stayed and partied on until the very last moment as security escorted them out. It’s an unmatched feeling of unity, love and shared joy between like-minded individuals. A priceless moment.
Gerry Cinnamon remains an all together class act. For one man armed with just an acoustic guitar to go from busking on the streets of Glasgow to playing his tunes to 11,000 fans with no label and no huge marketing campaign is a truly exceptional thing, yet Gerry remains one of the most authentic and humble live acts in the Scottish music scene to date.
Words by Emma Edwards