Live Review - Dom Martin, Nice n Sleazy, Glasgow, 28 March 2023


Dom Martin’s solo acoustic tour started in mid-March and stopped off in Glasgow at Nice n Sleazy in Sauchiehall Street. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me as I spent a lot of time here in my late teens interviewing and doing live reviews of local bands. It’s not changed much in the intervening years.

It was also a perfect venue for Dom Martin. His acoustic shows have a personal touch to the extent that it’s like sitting with an old close friend, putting the world to rights and jamming on guitar. Glasgow seems to fit him like a glove – as he said himself, he loves the city. There was very little sign of the chest infection from the previous week that saw two dates of the tour postponed and Dom under various order from fans on his Facebook page to relax, invest in Vocalzone, imbibe in honey and lemon and look after himself.

The set opened with a blistering version of I Could’ve Had Religion – if Rory Gallagher above, who in the lyrics Dom asks to send his blessings his way, was listening, the legendary Cork bluesman would no doubt have been beaming from ear to ear. Rory has been a seminal influence and presence in Dom’s life since childhood.  This was followed by another Gallagher classic, Railway And Gun. It set the tone for the 90 minute set, in which Dom honoured both his heroes and showcased his own brilliant songwriting.

Guitar is an instrument that seems to have the most resonation with people. Many pick it up. Quite a few find it hard to get beyond the difficult first stage of painful fingers til the calluses build up and the hands get used to it, complete with buzzing strings and getting to grips with chords, various ways to strum, fingerpicking etc. It’s an instrument that needs patience and time. But others take to it, to the extent that the instrument becomes an essential part of their being and the playing is on a whole other level. As my brother, who first saw Dom back in November 2022 put it, “How can you do that with just strings and fingers?” Dom is without a doubt in the league of virtuoso guitarists that include Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, Gary Moore and Peter Green. He could probably teach Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page a few things.

Dom is very open about how his earlier life experiences feeds into his songs. He is lyrically a highly effective storyteller, such as in No Easy Way Out, Mercy (which he pondered had the audience at a recent French gig wondering why he was thanking them), Hell For You and Echoes. In between each song, he had a fantastic rapport with the audience, with the odd humourous exchange, thoughts on John Martyn, discussing how he has overcome his previous experiences with drugs, his close relationship with his Dad and the arguments with other guitarists over the correct way to play Jelly Roll Blues – which originally began life as a piano honky tonk piece by Jelly Roll Morton before John Martyn put it to guitar in a way only he knew.

The night ended with a moving version of The Parting Glass, a perfect way to round things off.

Everyone worth their socks as a music fan should go and see Dom. Even if they’re not, watching him play live is very inspirational, from being able to see the magic of brilliant guitar playing to listening to his between song talk about his life experience and how he has gotten here now. He is one of those people who demonstrates the healing power of music and as a person he oozes positivity. You leave feeling like you can conquer the world perhaps that little bit more than you did when you arrived.