REVIEW: Del Amitri, Fatal Mistakes Tour, York Barbican, September 18 2021

Justin Currie: Leading Del Amitri through songs old and new, lonesome and blue at York Barbican

JUSTIN Currie’s Glaswegian band, Del Amitri, last played York Barbican in May 2002, but come a York Saturday night in September 2021, here we were, all singing along like before, “And we’ll all be lonely tonight and lonely tomorrow”.

Ah, yes, we shall, but on this night we were all lonely together, when so many recent months had been spent in loneliness and disconnection brought on by the pandemic, but here we were, revelling in what we had missed. Nights together, lost in songs that had so much individual impact but hold us in collective thrall.

Held back to the last encore, Nothing Ever Happens is one such song, forever Currie’s definitive work, on the one hand capturing monotony, mundanity and routine but also despairing at how the worst human traits prevail, no matter the protestations, as “American businessmen snap up Van Goghs for the price of a hospital wing”…or now billionaires throw money at an egotistical space race.

Of course, plenty has happened in those 19 years, not least Del Amitri re-forming in 2014, touring that year and in 2018, and releasing their seventh studio album – and first since 2002’s Can You Do Me Good? – in May when Fatal Mistakes made the top five.

That chart placing was one affirmation of devotion to a band whose sustained quality, hooks and smart lyrics of heart-on-sleeve sentiment, wit and grit, gnarled social comment and pop culture references, shared experience, nocturnal journeys, and love’s dreams, dashed realities and drowned sorrows have cut deeper than might be first apparent.

As Currie said in an interview earlier this year: “We’ve got a reputation: ‘They’re OK, but they’re not terribly with it’. And that’s fine, but it’s nice to hear people coming back to us years later, saying, ‘Actually, they’re really good songwriters’.”

In a nutshell, these songs have a timeless air, and as Currie says, who cares if “they’re not terribly with it”. That’s the difference between pop and rock; these songs were built to last, and 38 years on from Del Amitri forming, the flow from 1985’s self-titled debut to this year’s renaissance is seamless.

Like Del Amitri’s songs, Currie has weathered well, lean and lanky in jeans and denim jacket with rock-god locks at 56 but he and guitarist Iain Harvey acknowledged the passing of time by opening with an acoustic When We Were Young. The full house tapped immediately into that nostalgia, those shared yesterdays.

But hey, it was good to be alive, more than ever, at CharlesHutchPress’s first Barbican gig in far too long. Currie looked no less grateful to be reconnecting too, but largely let the songs do the talking, aside from an opening amused aside about York’s Food and Drink festival.

Lining up with Currie on bass and vocals, Harvie and Kris Dollimore on guitars, Jim McDermott on drums and Andy Alston on keyboards and accordion, Del Amitri moved between songs old and new, giving an airing to seven out of the 13 tracks from Fatal Mistakes, to go with those set-list staples Always The Last To Know, Kiss This Thing Goodbye, Driving With The Brakes On, Move Away Jimmy Blue, Roll To Me, Spit In The Rain and Stone Cold Sober.

All Hail Blind Love, You Can’t Go Back and first encore Empty were further highs, and from an album made in lockdown, second encore I’m So Scared Of Dying had a chilling resonance, taking nothing for granted even in a world where Nothing Ever Happens.

Here were songs of renewed meaning from a band with an infamously meaningless name. Welcome back Del Amitri. See you in the year 2040…but preferably much sooner.

Review by Charles Hutchinson

Del Amitri to release first album in 19 years in May and play York Barbican in September

Del Amitri: First studio album in 19 years

DEL Amitri will follow up the May 28 release of their seventh studio album, Fatal Mistakes, with a September 18 gig at York Barbican.

Justin Currie’s Glaswegian band last played the Barbican in May 2002, the year they released their last album, Can You Do Me Good?.

Currie and co previously performed at the York venue on their Some Other Sucker’s Parade Tour in November 1997.

Fatal Mistakes was scheduled for an April 30 release on Cooking Vinyl on CD, vinyl and digital formats, but “due to some unavoidable issues regarding production and distribution relating to the global pandemic”, the date has been moved to May 28. We’d like to apologise for this additional delay, but promise it’ll be worth the wait!” says Del Amitri’s official website.

The poster for Del Amitri’s tour promoting new album Fatal Mistakes

Formed in Glasgow in 1983, Del Amitri have chalked up four Top Ten albums with the million-selling Waking Hours in 1989, Changes Everything in 1992, Twisted in 1995 and Some Other Sucker’s Paradise in 1997.

Their best-known singles are Nothing Ever Happens, Kiss This Thing Goodbye, Always The Last To Know and Roll To Me.

After Can You Do Me Good?, Del Amitri settled into an indefinite hiatus until 2014, when they reunited for The A To Z Of Us Tour. In 2018 they toured again, this time with original band members Currie, Iain Harvie, Andy Alston, Kris Dollimore and Ash Soan.

For their 2021 tour, featuring the greatest hits and Fatal Mistakes, they will be supported by The Bryson Family. Tickets will go on sale on Friday (9/4/2021) at 9am at