Review: Justin Currie, Assembly Rooms

Justin Currie ***Assembly Rooms

DESPITE the ornate surroundings of the Assembly Rooms, Justin Currie was in apologetic mood on Saturday night, telling the audience he'd rather have addressed them from the more intimate confines of the yet-to-reopen Liquid Room.

The venue switch, however, proved to be an inspired choice for Currie's big, anthemic songs.

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Performing a healthy mix of Del Amitri tunes and tracks from his latest solo album, The Great War, you might have thought that the themes in Currie's music – lost love, anger, general misery – would have put a damper on a crowd who had just spent much of their day in the hot sunshine, but they took to it like a wasp to a beer garden.

"Come to Glasgow!" came the shout from one particular Glaswegian-accented follower early on.

Naturally, a few locals weren't too enthralled by the heckle. Currie, though, a Glasgow man himself, was quick to apply some diplomacy."We'll play Glasgow whenever they start paying us enough," he retorted.

Currie, the singer, meanwhile, was on top form, and the only negative thing you could say is that his songs can sound a bit dated – even the new stuff. His preferred style is middle-of-the-road country-influenced rock which – although well-written and nicely arranged – somehow still manages to remind you of 1994, when bands like Stiltskin and Gun were the top names in Scottish rock.

Fashion aside, what you see with Currie is what you get: professionally executed music, sung with precision, and topped off with plenty between-song banter.

Always The Last To Know was a notable highlight, and the only real downside was the gig didn't last the full two hours we were promised.

Announcing "the last song" with just under an hour played, Currie then returned five minutes later, playing for a further half-hour.

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Of this extended encore, the pick of the songs was a fantastic rendition of the Del Amitri classic Here And Now.

A word of praise should also go to TV talent show winner Tommy Reilly. He opened the show with a nervy but endearing set that will have done his ego no harm at all.