It feels good to have live music back. After the 18-months we have all had there was a warm feeling of normality in a busy Music Hall as the historic venue opened its doors to music fans, all clearly keen to see a band on stage.
The same could be said for Glasgow alternative rockers Del Amitri, who last performed in Aberdeen more than 20 years ago. The band have not played together with their full lineup since 2018, but the five-piece are back on the road promoting their recent Fatal Mistakes album.
The age of rock audiences tends to mirror those onstage, and it is now more than three decades since Del Amitri began a run of hits that made them one of Scotland’s most successful chart acts.
The years may have passed, but class is permanent and from opener When You Were Young, Justin Currie led the band through a tremendous songbook. Surely one of Britain’s sharpest pop writers, Currie with Fender bass slung low, delivered his pointed lyrics against a terrific musical backdrop.
Justin Currie’s warm tone remains
Time can be cruel to vocalists, but Justin Currie’s warm tone remains, and the likes of Stone Cold Sober, (Always) The Last To Know and the gorgeous Driving With The Brakes On oozed with the emotion they had when first recorded decades ago.
Currie’s wit hasn’t left him either. Quipping that he preferred the Music Hall before its big makeover, the boomy bass sound throughout the night suggested he might have had a point.
Sonics aside it wasn’t what you’d call a tight performance, but the Aberdeen audience willed the band through a 90-minute set chock full of perfectly crafted pop-rock. The accordion came out several times too, with the biggest cheer coming for Nothing Ever Happens – a lyric that could have been written in 2021.
There was also a crunchy, rock edge to the sound with the long-haired Ian Harvie pulling rock star shapes and spitting out gritty riffs on guitar. It was this light and shade, along with some tremendous vocal harmonies that encouraged those on the floor and in the balcony to join in throughout.
A night that music fans really needed
Earlier, fellow Glaswegians The Byson Family delivered a classy set. The band had to replace vocalist Phil Campbell, who left due to personal reasons mid-tour. His replacement Craig McCabe did a great job delivering the classy soulful Americana tunes, with current single Riches a standout. Catch them if you can.
Performances and songs are what shape gigs, and magic happens when there is a connection between artist and audience.
Justin Currie has described Del Amitri songs as “sometimes maudlin, often effervescent” and it was this emotional storytelling that made it a night that music fans, starved of live performances for so long, really needed.
Be My Downfall sent the audience on their way after an evening that reminded us of what we have all been missing.
The nights may be drawing in but this was, hopefully, a reminder of brighter times to come. Welcome back.
Check out the Del Amitri setlist
Here’s what Del Amitri played at the Music Hall last night:
- When You Were Young
- Musicians and Beer
- All Hail Blind Love
- Last to Know
- Not Where It’s At
- Won’t Make It Better
- Mother Nature’s Writing
- Driving With Brakes On
- Jimmy Blue
- Close Your Eyes
- Roll to Me
- You Can’t Go Back
- Here and Now
- Tell Her This
- Spit in Rain
- Stone Cold Sober
For the encore:
- Scared of Dying
- Kiss This Thing
- Nothing Ever Happens
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