IT’S not often one might except to be surprised by a band so obviously bred for commercial unit-shifting as McFly, but in this ten-year “Best Of…” anniversary tour there was a certain kind of alchemy which extended beyond the simple sense of shared nostalgia between a group and a set of fans who have grown up together.
Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow
* * * *
This first of two sold-out dates in Glasgow showcased a band who have made the simple but shrewd step of not treating their audience as though they’ll settle for the worst. Of course it wasn’t a ground-breaking set by any means, with young girls climbing into their dads’ arms to get a better view and boyfriends trying to look bored while their girlfriends screamed along.
The quartet on stage (a septet with added keyboard player and horn section) were all dressed in matching uniform of suits and waistcoats, and weren’t above a YMCA tribute amidst their own track It’s Alright.
Their banter was also often interminable, featuring some extended in-jokes about bassist Dougie Poynter writing the surprisingly moody Bubblewrap on a toilet in Disneyland and drummer Harry Judd’s success on Strictly Come Dancing two years ago.
Yet they played loud and with a genuine sense of excitement, and oddly the finest songs were those written in the second half of their decade together, after the first flush of fame. Lies, Shine a Light and The Heart Never Lies were among tracks which demonstrated an impressive transition to a more mature commercial indie sound, the familiar likes of 5 Colours in Her Hair and All About You there more by way of fan appeasement than the band’s own admirable desire to maintain some kind of freshness and vitality in an increasingly crowded and generic marketplace.