Del Amitri – Music Box Cleveland – 4/24/22
Known by the masses for their monster 90’s hit, “Roll to Me,” but known by their devoted fans as expert songsmiths, the Scottish band, Del Amitri, just wrapped up their first tour of the US in 25 years with a stop in Cleveland.
Mainstays Justin Currie (bass/lead vocals) and Iain Harvie (lead guitar) were joined by longtime keyboardist, Andy Alston (who also played accordion), Kris Dollimore on guitar and Ash Soan on drums. Currie still looked great, dressed in denim and sporting his long hair (a little gray now), while Harvie still had the long hair and beard that made him look more like a member of Motorhead, even in the band’s heyday.
They opened with a fitting, acoustic version of “When You Were Young,” before launching into “Musicians and Beer,” one of seven songs they played from their recent (and excellent) album, Fatal Mistakes. “All Hail Blind Love,” also new, had great harmonies. “Always the Last to Know,” a single that got considerable MTV play back in the day, was a solid rocker that sounded great. They played “Kiss This Thing Goodbye,” which was the band’s first hit in the US, at an even faster pace than the record.
Surprises included the Twisted ballad, “It Might as Well Be You,” and a stripped down version of “Empty” off of Waking Hours. “Spit in the Rain,” which was only available as an import single for years, was a welcome addition. The ballad, “Driving With the Brakes On,” should’ve been a bigger hit when it came out in the mid-Nineties.
They played their signature, Beatles’ knockoff, “Roll to Me,” in the middle of the set, which was surprising, but that left room for more interesting songs like “Stone Cold Sober,” and aggressive “Crashing Down”
They encored with a very dark, new song, “I’m So Scared of Dying,” before ending with a stripped-down run through of “Be My Downfall.”
In an era where concertgoers are overpaying to see musicians that can’t sing or play anymore, Del Amitri was a welcome change.
Currie was in fine voice throughout, and the interplay between guitarists Harvie and Dollimore was great, as well as Alston’s tasteful additions of keyboards and accordion.
25 years is a long time to wait for a band. But, I believe everyone in attendance got their money’s worth. There were rumors throughout the crowd that the band might be back next year, perhaps after completing another album. All hail Del Amitri! —Tony Peters