Review Scene: Del Amitri, Palais Theatre, Thursday 23 February 2023 by Maryanne Window

Having formed in Glasgow in 1980, Del Amitri is largely the song writing vehicle for bassist
and lead vocalist Justin Currie. The last time the band played in Melbourne was back in 1990
on the back of their break through second album, “Waking Hours”, released in 1989 which
established Currie, and his memorable sideburns as talented song writer and leader in a
band that was going places. With a string of top 10 hits around the world from the albums
that followed, and quite a few line-up changes along the way, the band went on hiatus in
2002 after the release of their sixth album, “Can You Do Me Good?”. Fast Forward to 2018,
with a brief reunion tour in 2014, and the band were back to writing and performing new
material then like everything else, was halted by the pandemic. A new album “Fatal
Mistakes” was released in 2022 which has brought them back out on the road again and
back to Australia.

Del Amitri by Maryanne Window

Former Powderfinger guitarist and song writer Darren Middleton opened the evening’s
entertainment with a lively rhythm section – The Translators – who looked like they could
just as easily be at home on the stages of Ozzfest as they were backing this Brisbane
troubadour. Middleton, with a humble and easy stage presence, played songs that spanned
his 10 year solo career, confessing that he has never been comfortable with his name as a
convincing rock name. The newer songs from his latest release “Home” proved that his
brand of acoustic folk-pop-rock can find a place anywhere, even if his song “Just Let Me Go”
didn’t end up finding its home on the soundtrack of “A Star is Born 3.0” as it was intended
when written. Joined mid set by long time musical cohort, violinist and member of Skipping
Girl Vinegar Kelly Lane, Middleton proved to be a musical kindred spirit to his Glaswegian
tour mates and was well received by the fans who arrived early.

The Scottish expats were making themselves known the minute Del Amitri emerged from
the Palais wings and without introduction launched into “When You Were Young” from their
1992 album “Change Everything”. It was more of a saunter than a bound as Currie strapped
on his trademark Fender Precision bass and stood purposefully at the microphone with the
occasional twirl around the stage. The crowd was up and about when they segued into the
single “Last to Know”, which was suitably rocking. Currie’s calm demeanour was balanced
out by the energetic, appropriately animated and longest serving member behind Currie
having joined in 1982, Iain Harvie on lead guitar. While the banter from the stage was sparse
throughout the show, Currie acknowledge that he was happy to be back, adding that it feels
like yesterday with more than a hint of sarcasm.

Del Amitri by Maryanne Window

As they wheeled in and out of rock, pop and folk classics, it was a telling reminder that
Currie is probably one of the most gifted lyricists of the modern era. A big call you might say,
but when listening to set highlights such as “Driving With the Brakes On” full of metaphors
and “Move Away Jimmy Blue” that tells the tale of a working class battler up against the
struggle of small town life, then shifting gear into the upbeat “Roll With Me”, their biggest
hit from 1995’s “Twisted” album it’s not too hard a reach. “This Side of the Morning” was a
joy and had the simultaneous sparkle disguising self-depreciating lyrical wit that those of us
with Celtic blood somewhere along the line can easily identify with.

The encore was a surprising 5 songs long and included the fan favourite “Empty”, the radio
hit “Nothing Ever Happens” and a couple of new tracks from the latest album. “Be My
Downfall” was the perfect note to end on, acoustic guitars, piano accordion and 3 part
harmonies to calm the rebel rousers and say “Cheerio”. Let’s hope it’s not another 32 years
between drinks before we see these lads live again because if tonight’s show was any
indication, there is definitely a lot of creative juice left in the tank.

About Maryanne Window 50 Articles
Maryanne is a writer and bass player. You can find her onstage with Monique Brumby.