Identical twin brothers, Craig and Charlie Reid are strikingly individual in the flesh. Born in Leith in 1962, they list their influences as being early rock ‘n’ roll and country artists. After playing in punk bands they formed The Proclaimers in 1983; their first big break came in 1986 when they were invited to tour with The Housemartins. In January 1987 they appeared on Channel 4’s The Tube, singing in regional accents about Scotland, its emigration and its politics, they became a phenomenon almost overnight and the rest is history.
They walked onto the stage without fuss or ceremony, both dressed similarly in black tops and jeans with the audience giving them a welcome cheer and launch into their first song, ‘Dentures Out’. Immediately that unmistakable, instantly recognisable Scottish vocal from Craig and the combination of his and Charlie’s voices impact with a boom. Their voices harmonise so well, and they sound even better than when they first broke into music decades ago. Each song is toe-tapping and encourages clapping and the occasional ‘Woo’; singing along is almost obligatory and very enjoyable. Charlie accompanied on guitar throughout.
The music is very tight with an excellent backing band featuring two guitarists, a drummer and a keyboard player. Various instruments were introduced during certain songs, such as the lead guitarist playing mandolin and steel guitar and Craig also playing a penny whistle, maracas and tambourine; a lot of their numbers have a Celtic feeling about them but with an Indie edge. The song set featured more than sixteen numbers with four taken from their latest album, ‘Dentures Out’. The strong beat and raucousness of most of the numbers really hits home and these were interspersed with a few serene moments when they slipped into ballad mode with songs such as ‘Streets of Edinburgh,’ and ‘Misty Blue’ which gave everyone a chance to relax in their seats and let the music flow over them.
It was a full house of a very mixed audience from teens to over 60’s and it felt as though they were waiting for certain popular hits such as ‘Letter From America,’ ‘Cap in Hand’ and ‘Let’s Get Married’. The beautiful ‘Sunshine on Leith’ brought everyone to their feet, swaying and singing; I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.
Of course, once the strains of ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ were heard, the crowd erupted and everyone was on their feet singing, jumping, cheering and laughing, it was infectious, and the crowd wanted more. The encore was just as delightful with ‘I’m On My Way’ and ‘The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues’ which completed a very enjoyable set. The Proclaimers combine rock blues and country elements which borders on the inspired. Their songs are timeless, written with poignancy and down-to-earth emotional honesty; they capture a range of human emotions and raw honesty.
A shout out to support act ‘I Am Kloot’ frontman, John Bramwell. His was a laid-back acoustic set featuring his accomplished guitar playing and self-penned, mesmerising story-telling songs filled with heart-felt emotion and endearing narrative. His comedic banter with the audience was refreshingly different and he held the audience from centre stage; he is a witty performer, very watchable with great stage presence.
The Proclaimers ‘Dentures Out’ tour visits UK and Ireland until mid-December 2022. https://the.proclaimers.co.uk/
Reviewer: Anne Pritchard
Reviewed: 11th October 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★