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.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner's mother Ester thought her daughter, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had transitioned for money
- 2 Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
- 3 Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 5 Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Britain's Got Talent producers apologise for not making Matisse dog double stunt 'clearer'
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Jules and Matisse used secret dog double for winning tightrope act
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9: 'The Dance of Dragons' sees Jon Snow return to The Wall after epic Battle of Hardhome
Britain's Got Talent final 2015: 90 viewers complain to Ofcom about Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden's 'revealing' dresses
Black Angel: Lost Star Wars precursor to be made into crowdfunded feature film
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers