wed 19/06/2024

Starsailor, SWG3, Glasgow review - nostalgic comfort to satisfy the faithful | reviews, news & interviews

Starsailor, SWG3, Glasgow review - nostalgic comfort to satisfy the faithful

Starsailor, SWG3, Glasgow review - nostalgic comfort to satisfy the faithful

Warrington outfit returned to their debut album in unassuming fashion

Starsailor in reflective mood as they re-visit their debut album

When Starsailor arrived onstage, they did so to the somewhat odd walk-on music of one of their biggest hits, with a remix of “Good Souls” blaring out and an early sing-a-long underway as a result. Perhaps that was appropriate, as this evening was focused on providing familiar, nostalgic comforts to those in attendance.

The impetus for the tour, after all, was to mark the 20th anniversary of "Love Is Here", and that brief period when the Warrington outfit were considered one of the country’s hottest new acts, only to be soon eclipsed by the skinny jean and shaggy haired frenzy of the Strokes, the White Stripes et al. Still, although the crowds might have lessened from those days, the Glasgow crowd was lusty in vocal appreciation all night, a fact singer James Walsh acknowledged frequently, in his usual affable, unassuming manner.

Starsailor, still, after all these years, are very much a band that let the music do the talking. That is admirable to an extent, but it did mean the 90 minute set was lacking pizzazz at times, given the group very much got down to business of working through song after song, with the main level of showmanship simply being Walsh taking the microphone to croon into during an early “Alcoholic”. It was not exactly grabbing you by the throat, shall we say.

Yet the simplicity of it all had its moments too, with Walsh a strong voiced, powerful singer, seemingly forever set on a melancholy vocal. On a track such as “She Just Wept” it was stark and emotional, on the pop sweep of “Lullaby” it truly soared and on the typically anthemic rendition of “Good Souls”, here dedicated to key workers, it became a triumphant call to arms.

That said, while an effective voice it may be, a cover of the Small Faces “All or Nothing” was a step too far, as Steve Marriott he is not. That cover started off the second portion of the night, a smattering of tracks from all their other albums, culminating in an impressively striking “Silence Is Easy”. For all their stereotyping as acoustic led softhearted lads they are a band with some force at times, notably from drummer Ben Byrne, a crunching presence right from the ominous tone of set opener “Tie Up My Hands”, and making his mark on the straight ahead rock of “In The Crossfire”, even if the stage lighting meant he literally seemed absorbed into darkness at points.

Not all of those stereotypes are totally off the mark, however. Some of the plaintive, heart in hand tunes clumped along tediously, with the title track of their debut album a particularly guilty offender. If love was there, it probably scarpered off in search of excitement elsewhere soon afterwards, while “Coming Down”, featuring just Walsh on acoustic guitar and including a brief cover of Primal Scream’s “Movin On Up” as a coda, was underwhelming.

Still, the faithful were unquestionably satisfied, and not just because Walsh cheerfully stated that with football Scotland came first to him. That statement was given further credence by the usage of Tartan Army favourite “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” over the tannoy once the band departed the stage, a party anthem the group had matched just moments before with the dancefloor stomp of “Four to the Floor”, a tune that was a reminder Starsailor can have fun when they want to.

For all their stereotyping as acoustic led softhearted lads they are a band with some force


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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