Following the release of their seventh studio album Fatal Mistakes last year, Del Amitri performed the perfect playlist of new material and nostalgia to a grateful Glasgow crowd.
Del Amitri’s three-night run of sell-out shows at the iconic Barrowland Ballroom in December, including a night just for NHS workers, had to be postponed due to the threat of Omicron. With so much of life delayed by Covid – including this review (apologies for that) – there was a tangible feeling of relief throughout the venue when the band finally appeared on stage.
After opening with the acoustic version of the 30-year-old single When You Were Young, they quickly moved into heavier territory with two songs from the new album – the crunching Musicians and Beer and biting ballad All Hail Blind Love. Placing these two songs between classic 1992 sing-along singles (the other being Always The Last To Know) served to demonstrate the power of the Justin Currie/Iain Harvie songwriting partnership; they are still able to create pop-rock powerhouses. That said, the folk-infused Mockingbird, Copy Me Now – written by Currie and guitarist Kris Dollimore – and the haunting harmonies of the stripped-back stunner Lonely, showed that they are still willing to try something a bit different. In fact, Fatal Mistakes is arguably their strongest album to date, and the tracks played from it all received a great reception from the crowd. Even the near-eight-minute chug of Nation of Caners kept everyone nodding along, and few people took up Currie’s invitation to head to the bar (or toilet) during it.
While this is a band moving forward, the Dels are well aware of what people have paid to hear and didn’t disappoint with this set. We are not just talking about a parade of hits, either. Fans will have no doubt been delighted to devour album tracks like Surface of The Moon and Empty, for what may have been the first time in many years. But the loudest singing was saved for the end of the night. A rousing rendition of Nothing Ever Happens – a song that lyrically seems more relevant to the times we live in now than it was when it was released – followed by Be My Downfall belted out by the crowd left the band wearing wry smiles as they departed the stage.
While some bands that have been around since the 1980s are content to go through the motions, this band still seems intent on generating emotion. They are also gaining momentum – with a successful US tour under their belts, upcoming festival appearances and tickets on sale for European dates.
When you’ve acknowledged that you can’t go back, the one thing left to do is keep progressing. Based on this scintillating performance, Del Amitri will continue to do just that.
Photos © Rhiannon Law