Gig review: Starsailor

CHELMSFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 16:  James Walsh  of Starsailor performs at Sony's Xperia Access acoustic stage in the Virgin Media Louder Lounge. Unseen footage of Starsailor's performance can be viewed at www.vevo.com/xperiaaccess at Hylands Park on August 16, 2014 in Chelmsford, England.  (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Sony Music)
CHELMSFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 16: James Walsh of Starsailor performs at Sony's Xperia Access acoustic stage in the Virgin Media Louder Lounge. Unseen footage of Starsailor's performance can be viewed at www.vevo.com/xperiaaccess at Hylands Park on August 16, 2014 in Chelmsford, England. (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Sony Music)
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MUSIC

Liquid Room, Edinburgh

***

It’s billed as the “greatest hits” tour, and their recorded history meant they could fit the lot into 90 minutes, with plenty of room for a few lesser-known tracks and new pieces of work besides, yet none of it was filler. Singer James Walsh described Blood as a “brand new song” and Lullaby (released 15 years ago) as a “really old song”, and the contrast suggested their style hasn’t shifted far in the interim. A quintet, they play sweeping, emotional indie-rockers led by big guitars and keyboard, and Walsh’s delicate but expansive voice is the deal-breaker, a sugary blend of impressive power and winsome heartache in the vein of Coldplay’s Chris Martin or The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft. The Wigan-founded group were received with warmth, but it was those greatest hits which sealed a successful and surprisingly seasonalshow, from the opening Poor Misguided Fool and the plaintive Alcoholic to the strident Silence is Easy and Four to the Floor. A stripped-back take on Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody and the much-needed sentiment of the closing Good Souls – that fine people are a remedy for tough times – were especially welcome.