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The Tindersticks, City Halls, Glasgow

Ah the memories! I last saw the band next door in ‘The Old Fruitmarket’ some 15 years ago.  A very sobering realisation….the venue itself is lovely with great sight lines, and generous seating. My gripe with seated venues is, as always, that artists can drink on stage and mere mortals can’t. Not fair. You charge us £20 we can sip a beer surely?

Anyway the band has returned with a fantastic album ‘The Hungry Saw’ a mere 5 years after splitting up forever. They must mean ‘forever’ in the way Rolling Stones mean ‘last ever tour’ I guess.  The album is really why they’re here and bravely they start with7 songs from it in the same order as they appear on the album. The sound is great apart from two gripes: the bass is slightly growly and the vocals are too quiet, although Stuart Staples has an annoying habit of singing slightly away from the microphone and this could be part of
the problem.

The remaining original members (Staples, keyboardist David Boulter and guitarist Neil Fraser) are augmented by bass, drums, a string section and a brass section. The sound is as rich and full as that suggests.

The first concession to the past is ‘Dying Slowly’ from ‘Can Our Love?’ album. This is followed by a storming version of Townes Van Zandt’s ’16 Summers, 15 Falls’ and ‘Say Goodbye to the City’ from ‘Waiting For The Moon’.  The ‘oldies section’ is completed by a trio of tracks from perhaps my favourite album, their eponymously titles second: ‘Sleepy Song’, ‘She’s Gone’ and ‘Travelling Light’ sound as fresh as ever and bring back some vivid memories for your reviewer and his paramour!

The band complete the set with the closing tracks from ‘Hungry Saw’ including the awesome ‘Boobar Come Back To Me’ and my own favourite Tindersticks track ‘The Turns We Took’ which ends the show.

The encore sees a lovely version of ‘If You’re Looking For a Way Out’ from ‘Simple Pleasure’ and two songs from their classic debut album: ‘Her’ and ‘The Not Knowing’. The latter is beautiful and minimal.

The crowd wants more, but they’re gone. A brave show all in all; the mania now is for nostalgia, and older bands are dusted down to perform classic albums as judged by…who exactly? Who is to say that your art
is now frozen in time, trapped in amber? I am sure most bands in these situations find the feelings mixed: grateful for the kudos and the money but disappointment that they can now have no creative future,
they won’t be allowed one. Their ‘time’ was then.

The Tindersticks tonight put their faith in their new album and its strengths, and were vindicated.  Its highlights match their past and in places surpass them.



One Response

  1. Lovely review. 🙂

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