Gig review: Simple Minds/The Stranglers, SSE Hydro, Glasgow

MAYBE it was the support band slot, or the scale of the venue, but Simple Minds’ hand-picked special guests The Stranglers seemed on the back foot for much of their set, with their biggest hit, the baroque pop classic Golden Brown, particularly ill-served by the venue’s boomy acoustics.

Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr. Picture: TSPL
Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr. Picture: TSPL

Simple Minds /The Stranglers

Glasgow Hydro

Rating: ****

The meatier and meaner the bassline – and The Stranglers have plenty of those in their armoury – the more satisfying the sound.

Simple Minds were all might from the moment the Waterfront bassline rumbled forth and that first crashing chord broke over the auditorium announcing that the games were open in “the city that made us”. This band eat venues like the Hydro for breakfast and frontman Jim Kerr was primed to play to the back of the hall with a flourish and a knee lunge – followed, these days, by a self-deprecating “I’m knackered already,” after ten minutes of committed grandstanding.

With some breathing room provided by the heavy lifting of backing vocalists Catherine Ann Davies and Sarah Brown, Kerr and right hand guitarist Charlie Burchill (now firmly ensconced in his Man in Black phase) comfortably played a blinder throughout this hefty trawl through the Minds catalogue from the doomy Euro pomp of Celebrate to the gleaming streamlined stadium fixtures of the mid-80s. It was hard to begrudge them the indulgent excesses of Book of Brilliant Things as the colossal sound of New Gold Dream reverberated around the arena.