Instantly recognisable as Scotland’s favourite twins, The Proclaimers are back with their latest tour. Almost twenty-five years and ten albums since they first emerged on the music scene, the Leith twins prove they can still withstand the test of time.
Entering the stage and immediately performing their first track of the 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. With cheers baring resemblance of returned veterans reporting for duty.
First finding fame in 1988 with hit track ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ 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 Proclaimers tracks from their extensive career.
As bright and as colourful as The Proclaimers have decorated themselves to be however, 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 the applause slowly fades as tracks become dreary and feel 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 than the main act, 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, reminiscing of a post-industrial Manchester, a true waste of talents on the Lyric Theatre.
The whole performance was not a room of people sleeping with their eyes open though. Hit tracks such as ‘Letter From America’ ‘I’m On My Way’ and ‘Sunshine On Leith’ saw one or two fans scattered around the venue, 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 Charlie and Craig’s 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 classic. The Scottish twins then abruptly leave the stage to then be demanded a return in the form of an an encore. It can’t be helped to think what do they play after their single most favoured track? Returning to the stage to then find the crowd all returned to their seats is never a good sign and the encore performance felt somewhat unsatisfactory following ‘I’m Gonna Be’.
Overall The Scottish duo play 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 todays society with tracks like ‘What School’ from there latest tenth 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 twins down as they feel rather deflating and mundane compared to the hits.