INSTANTLY recognisable as Scotland’s favourite twins, The Proclaimers are back with their latest tour. Almost 25 years and numerous albums since they first emerged on the music scene, the Reid twins were at Salford’s Lowry theatre last night (October 20), Quays News Entertainment reporter Nathan Smith was there…
Entering the stage and immediately performing their first track of night ‘Sky Takes the Soul’ there’s a sense of excitement as if a sudden fresh burst of energy is released upon the Lowry Lyric Theatre.
First finding fame in 1998, with hit track ‘I’m Gonna Be‘ the Proclaimers have since generated a plethora of upbeat Scottish-folk anthems which scream reminiscent nostalgia of their younger years. With a catalogue of albums and hit tracks to choose from, the twins also stretch their horizons to DVD. In 2013, a film adaptation of ‘Sunshine On Leith’ reached number two in the UK box office and featured tracks from the Proclaimers’ extensive career.
As bright and as colourful as The Proclaimers have decorated themselves to be, it is sad to see their performances not live up to the full potential that the name promises. To those who are not die-hard fans of the duo, it can be hard to think of any other track other than the obvious, however the crowd seem to be of a faithful following and show their support with thunderous applause after ‘Sky Takes the Soul’ finishes. Unfortunately, the support seams to gradually deteriorate as tracks become dreary, feeling like they’re filling time until the big tracks are played.
The warm up act came in the form of Pete Williams, a solo artist from the West Midlands, assisted with a full band. It’s rare that the warm-up act is more exciting than the majority of the main act, but due to being dramatically less popular, it seemed that the crowd where simply not interested in the Black Country singer. A shame really, because his musically dreary voice and sophisticated controlled use of the electric guitars, reminiscent of a post-industrial Manchester, was a true waste of talents on the Lyric Theatre.
Despite the main performance lacking in areas, the venue was not just a room of people sleeping with their eyes open. Hit tracks such as ‘Letter From America’, ‘I’m On My Way’ and ‘Sunshine On Leith’ saw one or two fans up and out of their seats dancing along to tracks and having a good time. The rest of the crowd however, were just swaying in their seats, more out of politeness really.
Standout track of the night was ‘What School’ taken from the latest album ‘Let’s Hear It For The Dogs’. A hearty track taking a fond look back at teenage years, ‘What School’ is a delightful addition to the set and is used with deadly precision in order to shake things up with their performance. In typical Proclaimers fashion, the lyrics take the opportunity to herald their homeland with the opening line of ‘I like dogs and I like people especially the Scottish kind but Scottish dogs have an in-built advantage over Scottish humankind’. The track also takes jabs at Led Zeppelin stars Jimmy Page and Robert Plant for being supporters of Wolves football club with the line, ‘Plant and Page wrote A Stairway To Heaven/ Now I know he’s a big Wolves fan but does he favour rebel songs or marching flute bands?’
As the evening’s performance comes to an end, the duo take time to thank the crowd before the instantly recognisable staccato intro to ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ causes the audience to simultaneously rise as one to a hearty sing-along of the hit. The Scottish twins then abruptly leave the stage to then be demanded an encore. It can’t be helped to think what do they play after their single most favoured track? The duo re-emerged to find the crowd all returned to their seats, which is never a good sign and therefore left the encore performance feeling somewhat unsatisfactory following ‘I’m Gonna Be’.
Overall the Scottish duo played a plethora of hard-hitting folk tracks to a die-hard fan base that remain faithful to the pair. Proving that they can still create tracks bearing relevance in today’s society with tracks like ‘What School’ from their latest 10th album whilst early tracks such as ‘Letter From America’ and ‘Sunshine on Leith’ prove to have survived the test of time. It’s the tracks that come in between that seem to let the Proclaimers down as they feel rather deflating and mundane compared to the hits.
By: Nathan Smith