Seth Glier delivered an earnest performance, ahead of the Ronnie Spector concert at Colston Hall, Bristol on December 4. Glier an American singer-songwriter, who has just recently turned twenty seven, has already performed with the likes of James Taylor, Mark Knopfler and now Ronnie Spector.
Eventually the lights suddenly vanished into darkness in the three-quarter full auditorium when Glier walked onto the stage dressed in a grey three pieced suit with his blind saxophone player Joe Nerney, Glier compassion was already noticeable and he was welcomed with a warm applause. Glier played his song “Man I Used To Be” from his 2013 album Things I Should Let You Know, with assertive keyboard playing and reaching euphonious high notes while harmonising with Nerney, who was also drifting in and out with his tonal saxophone to produce an stupendous opening song.
Seth Glier has been touring with Ronnie Spector for all of his UK concerts and this being the last UK show, he showed no signs of fatigue or complacency, ready to continue with his extraordinary vocal range, Glier stood up from the keyboard and walk to the centre microphone to create a powerful a capella rendition of his song “The Stars And Glitter”, a song about slavery, which seemed thematically fitting due to Bristol and Colston Hall history. Glier then picked up his acoustic guitar to perform another song, with the song showcasing his folk influence.
Glier’s long-time friendship with Joe Nerney was transparent throughout the performance as well as his kindness, with Glier helping Nerney towards one of the microphones, for which they both shared for the next song. Before they commenced the song, a picture of Glier’s brother was shown on the screen, Glier announced he had passed away one month ago. Glier continued to talk about his nonverbal autistic brother, he then explained about his school days when he would have to wake up early in the mornings to assist his brother.
Glier said his brother was his biggest non-musical, musical influence, especially on his songwriting, and the next song, titled “Love Is A Language”, was written about his brother. It was a poignant introduction to a beautiful song, it made the audience received the song with greater insight, resulting in more appreciation. An Americana song with Glier playing acoustic guitar and Nerney adding background vocals while also playing the harmonica in a folk style, audience members generated a big applause at the end of the song.
The Next song “Standing Still” had Glier returning back to the keyboard to produce cultivated melodies and crescendos, keeping the audience clinging to the musical changes while the lyrics are as effective with the political undertones. The Rolling Stones “Wild Horses” was covered by Glier as a duet with Nerney, Glier in his 50 minute slot found time to recall the time he first meet Nerney – when he was playing in a tribute band at the age of fifteen. Glier in an interview has previously talk about his friendship by saying “Each performance when I look to my left and see Joe slaying the audience with a solo and I watch him smile after the audience applauds, it remains the most authentic thing I’ve ever seen in my life”.
Glier finished off his set by performing “The Next Right Thing”, an ascetic roots song which uses only hand percussion instruments to create a simple beat, over which Glier delivers a high vocal pitched performance, with the song lasting just over two minutes. The pair then walked off together while the audience was standing up giving a well-deserved round applause but fortunately the pair was on later because Nerney is also the saxophone player for Ronnie Spector on this tour and Glier joined Ronnie Spector for some songs, playing the acoustic guitar.
Overall Glier exceeded the standard of a support act, for which he channelled his folk and Americana influence, but also touched upon his modern-pop direction, delivering a most sombre and compelling experience before the audience’s rapture of seeing Ronnie Spector. I do not think many people would have known who Glier was before his performance but they certainly do now.
Words by Jack Walters