Music review: Deacon Blue, Hydro, Glasgow

As frontman Ricky Ross wryly observes, Deacon Blue are approaching pensionable age. And yet this homecoming tour bookend was the biggest show of their three-decade career, a true love-in with their fans whose voices lifted the eternal ship Dignity on the Clyde once again.

PIC: Edmond Sadaka/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

Music review: Paul McCartney, Hydro, Glasgow

Despite his status as the most esteemed rock star on the planet, Sir Paul McCartney is such a personable presence that three hours in his company flew by like a snatched chat over tea and biscuits with an old pal. His Freshen Up tour is a steady stroll around his singular career, opening doors to unexpected rooms, dusting off old gems and honouring the sheer eclecticism of his output over the past six decades, from naive ditties to emotional epics and outright rockers.

Margaret Atwood PIC: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Music & Spoken Word review: 404 Ink & Neu! Reekie!: The Big Ten for Christmas, Summerhall, Edinburgh

The “tenth birthday party” theme of this night of live music and spoken word was a wee bit disingenuous, given that it actually referred to the sum total of years in existence for host Neu! Reekie! (eight this year) and publisher 404 Ink (only two, but hugely successful for its youth, not least through its 2017 Nasty Women anthology). Both are among the most exciting and challenging arts facilitators in Scotland and both were able to call on genuinely big names for the occasion.

Lily Allen

Music review: Lily Allen, Barrowland, Glasgow

“I FEEL like anger is becoming a personality trait, it’s f***ing relentless,” said Lily Allen, moments before the finale of her show, a breezy skip through the righteous dismissal of F*** You. She was talking about the national political mood (Theresa May and Brexit had already been mentioned), but her own emotion range as an artist is more sophisticated than that.

Def Leppard

Music review: Def Leppard & Cheap Trick, Hydro, Glasgow

THE rock universe was shaken to its leather boots in summer 1987 by the release of an incendiary new album – Guns N’ Roses’ classic debut, Appetite for Destruction. So when Brit rockers Def Leppard released Hysteria two weeks later, they were already behind the curve. Three decades on, this is of little concern to band and fans, who would happily confirm that Hysteria’s brace of gleefully unreconstructed hits have retained their air-punching party credentials.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Music review: The SCO and Karina Canellakis, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

YOUNG New York conductor Karina Canellakis is fast developing a very fruitful partnership with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. And it’s a relationship that can only be welcomed: with her precise, demonstrative direction, her ear for detail and balance, and her outgoing, generous spirit, she urges particularly vivid, strongly defined playing from the SCO musicians.

Nile Rodgers & Chic may have released their first album in 26 years but here they stuck to the classics

Music review: Nile Rodgers and Chic, Hydro, Glasgow

THE protracted preamble on the opening night of Chic’s first ever arena tour suggested that bigger was not necessarily better, not even for a proven hitmaker like Nile Rodgers who takes the business of writing popular songs very seriously.

Paul Towndrow

Interview: Landmark birthday finds Paul Towndrow ready to experiment

Serendipity, or just the results of hard work and venturesome vision? Scots saxophonist Paul Towndrow is looking back on his career before celebrating his 40th birthday tomorrow night with a performance of his Charlie Parker with Strings programme at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s City of Music Studio, part of the venue’s “Late Night Studio Jazz” season.


Under the Radar: VanIves

Growing up in the small Galloway town of Castle Douglas, Roan Ballantyne and Stuart Ramage were ten when they first bonded over a mutual love of skateboarding. Four years later the fully fledged lords of the boards had expanded their talents to setting up a drum’n’bass sound system, and this in turn has developed into the beguilingly gentle music of VanIves.

Ben Howard

Music review: Ben Howard, Hydro, Glasgow

For all his considerable commercial success since 2011 breakthrough debut Every Kingdom, Ben Howard remains a musician on the fringes of fashion. It’s hard to get a fix on his schtick – this modest, introverted performer was literally a shadowy figure, rarely directly lit and mostly to be found hunched over his guitar. Yet his coy voice and soothing reveries often left him musically exposed before his sonorous playing kicked in to fill the vast space of the Hydro.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra

Music review: SCO & Daniele Rustioni, City Halls, Glasgow

On paper, this Scottish Chamber Orchestra programme was a little lacking in meat. Apart from Rossini’s overture, The Italian Girl in Algiers, the ensuing cocktail of Respighi and Mendelssohn leaned towards the lightweight, which possibly explained the thin audience for Friday’s Glasgow performance.

Damon Albarn and co put on a spirited performance

Music review: The Good, the Bad & the Queen, SWG3, Glasgow

IT WAS inevitable that Damon Albarn would eventually write a concept album inspired by Brexit. He’s been chronicling the vicissitudes of The British Experience since Blur’s Modern Life is Rubbish album in 1993, so he was never going to ignore such a calamitously nation-changing event.

James frontman Tim Booth was happy hugging, head-rubbing and  crowd-surfing

Music review: James/The Charlatans, Hydro, Glasgow

THIS smart double bill of Mancunian indie veterans comprised one band who pre-date the Madchester scene of the early 90s and another who outlived it, the former in their comfort zone and the latter in a supporting role which didn’t suit them.

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