Music review: The Waterboys, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

Mike Scott of The Waterboys
Mike Scott of The Waterboys
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The ever-dynamic Waterboys embrace change but breaking their Glasgow tradition of dual Barrowland/Royal Concert Hall shows for a venue somewhere between the two with a fraction of the character elicited a muted response from their usually fervent fans.

The Waterboys ***

Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

As with Nick Cave’s recent incursion to the Hydro, The Waterboys’ live powerhouse should be able to make an impact whatever the location but matters were not well served by a setlist given over almost entirely to variable new album Out Of All This Blue comprising “70 per cent love songs, 30 per cent other shit,” according to frontman Mike Scott.

In the former category, the protracted Love Walks In didn’t justify its length. but the light rootsy funk of If I was Your Boyfriend, torrid Morning Came Too Soon and breezy soul scatting number Didn’t We Walk On Water came off more favourably. Of the latter miscellany, The Connemara Fox was as much soulful blues rock as demonic folk and The Hammerhead Bar, inspired by Who bassist John Entwhistle’s home bar of all things, took an extempore pot shot at Harvey Weinstein.

But Scott’s excellent band, including firebrand fiddler Steve Wickham and the infectious Brother Paul on piano, only really cut loose on the pounding Celtic soul of vintage favourite A Girl Called Johnny, where the dual drummer attack seemed justified, and a rocked-up encore of Fisherman’s Blues. And for all the heart-on-sleeve romantic chronicling of the new songs, The Whole Of The Moon remains Scott’s greatest encapsulation of wonder and rapture.