26 July 2018 (gig)
28 July 2018
There’s a book I’m reading this summer that has me hooked. But it’s a book I never thought would be written. I don’t mean I never thought anyone would get round to writing it. I mean, I never gave it a thought that someone would write it. The book is called These Are Just Perfect Days and it’s about Del Amitri. Like me, Charles Rawlings-Way is a huge fan of the band, who persuaded them to contribute to this tale of rock stardom despite initial reluctance. His terrific biography has been published as they are on a quick fire tour across the UK, unfurling the Del Amitri banner for a short burst.
Back in 2014, they reformed for a tour after more than a decade away and were surprised by the response. Buoyed by that reception, there’s even been talk of new material. For now though this whistle-stop trip has taken in the likes of Edinburgh Castle and will conclude with two nights in their home city of Glasgow.
If this London show is anything to go by, then Barrowlands will be a rousing and rollicking way to end the tour. Despite the curve ball opening of Be My Downfall, an acoustic reflection of betrayal that means people singalong but remain firmly seated, this is a show where lead man Justin Currie and his band are in full throttle.
After the gentle opening, including the late 80s political anger of Nothing Ever Happens, they are soon into rockier territory, upping the acoustic tempo with the angry Food for Songs. There's more political frustration in the damning Stone Cold Sober, but these songs were written early in Currie’s career and the politic of youth was soon taken over by reflections of (mostly) love lost.
This is a run through of their biggest hits - but sprinkled among them are album tracks which reveal the band to be more than just pop-rock. The grunge-like magnificence of Being Somebody Else and the spine tingling one night stand of It Might As Well Be You are stand out moments. There’s one new song, which suggests there could be more material on the way, but the other ‘new’ addition to the set is Twenty One Pilots’ Heathens, which is given a classy working over. It’s truly outstanding.
The band seem to be having fun dusting down the Del Amitri brand every couple of years (there’s some giggling and silliness on stage that’s quite endearing) and for their passionate followers, this bi-annual bit of nostalgia is probably enough. But you can't help feeling they still have more to offer. They were never a cool band, never where it’s at (as their own song admits) but they never really cared. They fell in between the nineties grunge movement and the later nineties Brit-Pop bandwagon, but they produced some of the decades best pop-rock moments. Witness Always The Last To Know, Here and Now and the rousing Driving With the Brakes On (all performed here with panache). I’m sure these fans are glad the book has been written to document their small footnote in rock history and I am likewise certain that they still have what it takes. Tonight proves it.