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Sunday 26th July 2015
Drill Hall in Lincoln, UK
Reviews by Mark Holmes & Hannah Sylvester; Photography by Mark Holmes
Well this makes a refreshing change. Support acts often get a pretty rough ride in terms of winning audiences over. Yet, something unusual is afoot here; gone is the constant chattering to friends whilst an upcoming artist gives it their all on-stage and full is the hall, instead of the bar. It appears that this young, straggly-haired and bearded southern folkie has rather won this city over. Clearly humbled to have landed the support-slot on the Proclaimers’ tour (and alluding to having walked 500 miles on a walking tour of the UK), he exudes a natural ease on stage, mixing traditional folk and storytelling with endearing songwriting, a healthy dose of dry humour (à la Tim Minchin) and gravelly, heartfelt vocals.

With a focus on political and social commentary, choosing from such ripe-pickings as leading politicians, media whitewashing and the nature of human life on earth, one might expect a sombre style of writing, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, with every song as upbeat as the last, and some very clever lyric-writing to boot. Even the supermarket self-checkouts (“there’s an unexpected item in the bagging area”) and those pesky junk emails from supposed Princes of distant lands offering you millions, in exchange for just your bank details, aren’t safe from the savvy observations of one man and his nylon-strung guitar. An extremely enjoyable, thought provoking and pleasantly chucklesome forty minutes of endearing, modern folk, and well worth discovering, especially live. (HS)
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The Proclaimers at the Drill Hall, Lincoln, UK, 26th July 2015
Photograph copyright © 2015 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
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With the capacity crowd in Lincoln's Drill Hall nicely warmed up by both the satirical-edged wit of Will Varley's acoustic folk tunes and the rising temperature of the venue's interior, everyone's favourite Scottish twins, Charlie and Craig Reid, appear on stage with their musical brethren to huge cheers at 8:30pm prompt. Commencing this sold out show in flat-out retro fashion, they open with 'Sky Takes the Soul', 'Over and Done With' and 'Letter From America', a trio of tracks from their debut album, 'This is the Story'. And the audience in a sold out Drill Hall lap it up en masse, applauding and cheering each track and the guys with enthusiastic reverence. 2003's 'Role Model' is up next before they turn towards their latest album for rousing renditions of 'You Built Me Up' and 'What School?', the latter preceded by Craig explicating the song's significance within the context of the album's title, 'Let's Hear it for the Dogs' - a Scottish tradition for "sniffing out" someone's religious affiliations. With the juxtaposition of the old and the new during the show's opening few songs, the timeless nature of The Proclaimers' songwriting and performance skills is made emphatic. Their inimitable and seamless blend of styles, incorporating folk, rock, punk, pop and new wave flavours is an indubitably infectious one whose perennial affects have stood , and will no doubt contine to stand, the test of time.

Every song is delivered tonight with a healthy dose of sincere passion, a corollary of the Reids' axiomatic enthusiasm for the live performance, as they succeed in conveying songs' inherent emotions with heartfelt ardour. Other new tracks - 'If I'm Still Around'; 'Through Him'; 'Then Again' - are received equally as well as older numbers, 'Scotland's Story', 'Let's Get Married', 'Misty Blue', 'Cap in Hand' and 'I Met You'. However, undisputed fan favourites that are aired towards the end of the set - 'Sunshine on Leith' and 'I'm On My Way' - engender a greater avidity within the crowd. And the venue truly erupts into a sea of bouncing, sweaty bodies with a pre-encore rendition of 'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)'. Exiting the stage to the biggest cheers of the evening, The Proclaimers return a couple of minutes later to conclude the night with three more tracks - 'Make My Heart Fly', 'The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues' and 'Life With You'. Five years on from Charlie and Craig's first ever Lincoln show, their return to this historic city has been been an unmitigated triumph. Big, beaming grins on each and every audience member's face as they exit the venue is a sure sign of such a success. (MH)
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