REVIEW / The outlook is wet: Del Amitri - Town & Country
Thursday 16 July 1992
Beneath a barrage of coloured lights and strobes, there appeared to be five of them, all guitars, side-burns and, to complete the sense of Seventies time-warp, waistcoats. They were pumping away at the sort of unassuming, guitar-led soft-rock which you happen upon when tuning the car radio half-way down a Utah freeway. Tom Petty with a Scots accent, Foreigner minus the middle-aged spread.
But it's astonishingly popular: their Number One album Change Everything is threatening to sell as many as their previous Waking Hours, which, thanks to huge success in America, kept several South African gold mines in work. As the bouncy bass, the guitar sweeps and the 'C'mon let's kiss this thing goodbye' lyrics played on, the couples in the audience looked into each other's eyes with recognition of the earnest truth of it all.
Justin Currie, the bass-playing singer with a voice that sounds as if he is permanently on the brink of laryngitis, and Iain Harvie, the guitarist with a lip-chewing grimace of concentration, are adept at writing neat tunes about the disappointments of personal relationships. Their favourite metaphor for this, perhaps because they came from Glasgow, is rain.
'Spit in the Rain', for instance, which began intriguingly with Currie on the acoustic guitar and Andy Austin playing a mandolin program on his keyboards, was all about a grim meteorological outlook mirroring an unhappy affair. 'This next song's got rain in it too,' said Currie when that number had finished. 'But only to rhyme with again. We're not really pessimists.' This was, presumably, Scots irony because the very song he was introducing chorused 'I've had enough bad news to last a lifetime'.
From this it should not be assumed that the audience was having an unhappy time. In fact, as one sad little rocker merged into another, they were working up a deoderant-threatening frenzy. The biggest reaction was reserved for the final number, 'Nothing Ever Happens', the del boys' most accomplished piece of singalong student angst. With an accordian accompaniment and lyrics such as 'And they'll all be lonely tonight and lonely tomorrow', it is an uplifting piece of melancholia nearly on a par with 'Eleanor Rigby'.
After much insistence from the audience they encored with their new single 'Be My Downfall', a melodic enough number about infidelity. But it is nothing compared to their biggest hit which had preceded it. And the band seem to think as much. During their reprise of 'Nothing Ever Happens', Currie and Austin went into a protracted duet.
'That's a little trick we learnt from Don McLean,' quipped Currie when they had finished. 'It's called stringing out your only hit.'
It was a good gag. Accurate, too.
Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boymusic
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rape threats, death threats and a police investigation after video poking fun at an Islamic Party in Malaysia goes viral
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
- 4 6-year-old writes ice cold Valentine's card to his stepmother
- 5 Syrian child photographed 'surrendering to camera because she thought it was a gun'
Sweeney Todd, theatre review: Emma Thompson returns to London stage after 25 years in absurdly deluxe ENO production
Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
Top Gear live to go ahead: Jeremy Clarkson to join Richard Hammond and James May... just don't call it Top Gear
Tidal: Madonna insists Jay Z's new streaming service is 'not about consumption and greed'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Katie Hopkins reported to the police for race hatred by Labour MP Simon Danczuk after tweet about Pakistani men