Of all the things one might expect to hear at a concert by the most charismatic member of One Direction as he embarks on the trepidatious path to a post-boy band solo career, a track by prog rockers Yes floating through the speakers shortly before he took the stage was not the most obvious. But there comes a time to put off childish things, as Styles’ new direction, fronting a young and eminently capable four-piece band, attempts to establish.
Harry Styles, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow ***
This was the only Scottish date of his debut solo tour, essentially a warm-up to next year’s arena tour, and it was a relatively plain affair – no big screens encouraging hysterical fans to scream if they wanted to go faster. Those screams were reserved for his silhouette, with guitar in hand, heralding a set of pleasant but unspectacular guitar pop which threw about some light touch Oasis – and therefore Beatles – references and borrowed blatantly from Elton John on the sturdier, guitar shredding Woman.
Styles freely admitted to the paucity of his solo catalogue at this early stage, so the set was embellished with Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart, which he wrote for Ariana Grande, and a couple of One Direction numbers – Stockholm Syndrome from their “mature” period and their debut hit You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful given a partial mod rock makeover – before he cut loose like some baby-faced rock’n’roller on Kiwi.
An unexpected cover of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, carried by the band with Styles along for the ride, was a curious blip before normal service was resumed on closing lighter-waving ballad Sign of the Times.