Del Amitri prove they’re still a hot ticket as they play a scintillating set of live favourites and new material to a sold-out Barrowlands.
It’s clear that the weather has changed on this Saturday night in Glasgow – the balmy Scottish summer making way for cool gusts and, appropriately, a hatful of rain. Barrowlands, however, is boiling by the time Del Amitri – Justin Currie (vocals, guitar), Iain Harvie (lead guitar), Andy Alston (keys), Kris Dollimore (guitar) and Ashley Soan (drums) – take to the stage for the first of two homecoming shows. The sweat-soaked crowd are cheering before the stage is even set up – eager to welcome the band back for their first hometown performance in over four years.
Whereas some ‘comeback’ tours can remind everyone of how much time has rolled on since the last time, the years seem to fall off Del Amitri as soon as they walk onstage. The first few songs of the set are a slow burn – the crowd swaying to the beautiful ‘Be My Downfall’ before the ever-popular ‘Nothing Ever Happens’. As Currie sings “we all sing along like before” the audience does exactly that and it’s simply heartwarming to hear. This is followed by an acoustic version of the rockier ‘Food For Songs’, with a pounding beat provided by Soan playing his bass drum while astride it.
“It’s beautiful to be back here,” says Currie and he’s right – this band is perfectly suited to a beer-soaked standing venue like Barrowlands, rather than the more polite, seated theatres they inevitably end up filling these days. After thanking those assembled they jump straight into a scorching and thoroughly joyous rendition of ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ followed by the sizzling ‘Just Like A Man’ with Currie demonstrating his stunning vocal range as the crowd desperately attempt to hit every note with him.
The whole band are at the top of their game and the energy that they put into classic hit singles, like ‘Always The Last To Know’ and ‘Roll To Me’, makes them sound like new releases. Old album tracks like ‘It Might As Well Be You’ and ‘The Ones That You Love Lead You Nowhere’ are shiny and new tonight. This is the complete opposite of a band going through the motions.
Yes they play the hits and singles, but this a set that sparkles with gems like a reworked b-side from the 1990’s called ‘The Verb To Do’ and new songs ‘You Can’t Go Back’ and ‘Heathens’ (a Twenty One Pilots cover) – both of which are ridiculously catchy and any new material will surely rekindle hopes of a new album.
The members of Del Amitri are all artists in their own right, so it is understandable that taking the time out of other projects to work together may not be something they can do often. However, the looks on their faces throughout this set and the chemistry between them – plus their connection with the audience – tells another story. There are grins, shared jokes and onstage pranks that hint at a band really enjoying themselves. As the night wraps up to a rapturous response, Currie triumphantly punches the air as he walks off stage.
So, after lighting the fuse in Barrowlands tonight are Del Amitri warming up for a full-scale comeback? Based on this blazing performance we can only hope so.
Photos © Rhiannon Law