Gig review: The Proclaimers, Glasgow Academy

The Proclaimers. Picture: Toby Williams
The Proclaimers. Picture: Toby Williams
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A QUARTER of a century into their career, the Proclaimers are in the enviable position of being both an establishment fixture and fiercely independent.

The Proclaimers

Glasgow Academy

Star rating: * * * *

On the one hand, their music has inspired a jukebox musical, Sunshine On Leith, which is being filmed for the big screen. On the other, they are free to pursue a musical agenda beyond any consideration for what is fashionable or marketable.

The evergreen vibrancy of their sound was writ large over the pacey opening to their set, with Whatever You’ve Got and the snappy, enthusiastically enunciated Notes And Rhymes jumping off the stage. Hate My Love put an exuberant spin on romantic ambivalence, and the lusty Letter From America must be the only song about the decline of industry which can also get a party started. So timeless is their writing that new songs felt like old friends. The waltz-time Spinning Around In The Air is a finely crafted piece of nonsense verse, nicely embellished with mandolin, while Dance With Me made a poignant addition to their enviable catalogue of old-fashioned ballads. Couples took the invitation to heart, swaying along to Zachary Ware’s heart-warming pedal steel playing in Sunshine On Leith.

Although the Reid brothers say simplicity is the key to their songwriting, they gave their band plenty of latitude in showing off their skills and were rewarded with their sensitive handling of the tonal shifts in a set which expertly encompassed the tender devotional Act Of Remembrance and the soulful stomp of There’s A Touch and Life With You – the common thread being the unapologetic celebration of heart-on-sleeve emotion which makes the Proclaimers such a classic act.