THE PROCLAIMERS. 11/6/16. SCARBOROUGH SPA.
Casually ambling on-stage, solo singer-songwriter Will Varley quipped, ‘Just in case there are some people in tonight who have never seen The Proclaimers before, I’m not The Proclaimers!’ Embracing due laughs, he eased into a beautifully lilting acoustic number that showed off the full range of his voice. In contrast to his serious side, Will then launched into a fabulously witty song about crazy cat videos on YouTube, narrating the song in such a style as to suggest that he’d filmed his own cat getting up to mischief. Having recently signed a record deal with “Xtra Mile Recordings,” Will has received extensive airplay over the past year, and deservedly so.
Coming on to a deafening round of applause, twins Charlie and Craig Reid looked smart but casual, “Letter From America” played early on, getting the crowd in the mood for ninety minutes of melodic merriment. Presenting a perfectly balanced mix of songs plucked from “This is The Story” right through to their latest album, “Let’s Hear it for the Dogs,” they barely paused for breath between songs, “Let’s Get Married” going down a storm, new song “What School?” as lyrically sharp and engaging as any of their older material.
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost thirty years since The Proclaimers released their debut album, but 2017 will constitute three decades “in business,” and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. Far from it, in fact. As if prove such a point, the Reid twins — along with their band — have recently returned from playing shows in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East, with their 2016 UK tour keeping them on the proverbial road until August.
Unsurprisingly, the crowd went crazy for “I’m On My Way,” an enduring favourite from their 1988 album “Sunshine on Leith,” with almost everybody springing out of their seats to clap along. “Cap in Hand,” taken from the same LP, got the audience even more excited. Even the slowest numbers (such as “The Light”) received a hearty response from the crowd, the Spa’s main hall partying like it was Millennium Eve.
To those unfamiliar with The Proclaimers’ work beyond their chart-storming hits, Charlie and Craig might be regarded as being something of a novelty act owing to the cult status of “I’m Gonna Be” and “Letter From America,” yet practically every song ever written by the band — and spread over their ten studio albums — is a gem.
It can’t be denied that 2013’s “Sunshine on Leith” film deftly introduced the music of The Proclaimers to a whole new generation of fans-in-the-making, the musical — appropriately shot in Edinburgh — having celebrated some of their catchiest anthems.
With no need to rely on stage-gimmicks, Charlie and Craig thrive in front of a crowd, lead vocalist Craig forever keeping time with a tambourine, Charlie pasting extraordinarily beautiful harmonies over Craig’s vocals as he strums for Scotland on acoustic guitar. All the while, their tighter-than-Scrooge backing band complement Charlie’s crisp melodies, with Steven Christie on keyboards, Clive Jenner on drums, John Kane on bass, and Zac Ware on lead guitar.
Inevitably blasting to a fist-pumping climax with “I’m Gonna Be,” the band ditched the stage to deafening applause and sustained shouts of “More! More!” Fortunately, they were more than happy to oblige with another three cracking songs, much to the crowd’s delight.