Perth Theatre has recently re-opened its doors after a long period of renovation. With the success of the homecoming panto and a packed spring programme, it's fair to say that the unique and historic venue is back with a bang.
Throughtout its history, Perth Theatre welcomed many fantastic musical artists too and now one up and coming, local musician has been handed the opportunity to be one of the first acts to perform on the prestigious stage since the renovation.
Former Perth High School pupil, Beth Malcolm, will be performing on the opening night of The Monday Night Thing - a series of weekly concerts that will be held at Perth Theatre throughout February, March and April. Beth is going to be performing on the same bill as Edinburgh-born Ross Wilson of the acclaimed Blue Rose Code on opening night on February 5th.
She's currently studying at university in Glasgow but she took some time out of her busy academic and musical schedule to chat to Small City. At just 18 years old, Beth has already played all over Scotland, the UK and even as far afield as Germany, but I'm curious to know if she has any memories of Perth Theatre before it was closed for renovations.
"I went to see the Panto there every year," she said, "and also my parents are huge folk music fans so I remember going to a few folk gigs there. It's one of the places that has been a big part of my childhood. I've been in since the renovations and it's looking very different but lovely.
"My dad (folk singer Jim Malcolm) is a musician too and his band Old Blind Dog played there. It's one of the places that has been a big part of my childhood. I've been in since the renovations and it's looking very different but lovely. It's nice that it is back in business!"
Beth comes from a musical family, and both parents sing and play, as does her brother. So it's no surprise that her family were a big influence on her musical development growing up.
"Music becomes ingrained in you. You can't escape it. For me, it was more about just enjoying playing at home with the family rather than going to school and doing these scary one-hour lessons. There was always music in my house throughout my childhood and it was always something I was destined to become involved in!"
Her dad Jim is a huge inspiration and supporter of Beth and her musical career but unfortunately, he's not going to be able to make it along to see her perform next week as he's currently touring the US.
"My dad can't be there which is a shame but mum is coming along as well as lots of my friends from school. That's the benefit of doing a home-town gig - you always get a really good turn-out!"
It was thanks to the power of social media and YouTube in particular that Beth secured her slot at the opening night of the Monday Night Thing. She uploaded a video of herself playing a cover of Blue Rose Code song Skin and Bones and singer Ross Wilson was so impressed that he contacted her to play with him.
"It's really exciting. Ross has been very good with me. It's really hard to get those first gigs and it's really helped and played a huge part in getting my music out there and heard."
Beth's debut E.P. Better By Noon is a really assured release, with a strong set of songs that benefit from great arrangements and deft performances from the musicians she recorded with. When she plays live she is accompanied by guitarist Dorian Cloudsley from the quirky jazz band Fat Suit, I asked her if she has to make adjustments to the songs for a live setting.
"My songs are quite intimate really. Dorian has been great at helping me to have the courage to keep things similar to when play when you are in your room. I think we have done that really well, keeping things how they were written, and a small sound can be quite effective when it's done well."
Something that Beth is quite passionate about is authenticity, namely singing in her own accent. "It's a thing that I didn't do when I first started," she told me, "because I grew up on pop music and was used to singers Americanising themselves. When I go to a gig I love to hear people, wherever they're from, sing in their own accent.
"Now when I go to a gig I love to hear people, wherever they're from, sing in their own accent. It's something I personally enjoy and it's something I'm working on always trying to do myself"
Beth's excited about what the Monday Night Thing is going to do for the music scene in her hometown, which she already thinks very highly of.
"I think it's going to bring in new talent. There are some great venues around Perth, and this new series will be a chance for people from all over the country to come and play. Perth has got a lot of people who want to go out and see things and it's great. The new theatre is definitely one of the top music venues and the fact that they are supporting new talent along with more established acts can only be a good thing."
Beth Malcom and Blue Rose Codes show on Monday the 5th of February is just the beginning as other acts are lined up to perform in Perth's newest intimate gig space. Local blues band Wang Dang Delta will be playing on the 6th of March and winner of the Scottish Album of the Year Katherine Joesph will be stopping by on the 12th of February.
I'm particularly looking forward to seeing some of the worlds finest traditional musicians, Michael McGoldrick, John Mccusker and John Doyle come together on Monday 19th February and guitar master Martin Simpson brings his mix of Amercan old-time music, blues and in a stunning solo show on the 12th March. That's just a mere sample of what's on offer and no matter what your musical tastes are you'll be sure to find something to your liking on Monday nights at Perth Theatre.
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