So my long… long awaited chance to see one of my favourite singer songwriters of all time finally arrived set in the perfect back drop of The Gate. A reasonably sized crowd of around two hundred filed into this old church to see the unarguable talent and sometimes-cantankerous personality of Justin Currie. First up the support.
The light dipped, and to a surprisingly excitable applause Del Barber hit the stage. I guess very few (including myself) new what to expect as the clearly slightly nervous young man as he steadied himself and broke into the first few chords of his first song Love & Wine. From the very first line of this song there was an overwhelming sense that the crowd had been taken in by this young mans delightfully soothing southern voice and carefully precise guitar plucking from the get go. This continued throughout the set with well received songs such as Running On A Wire, The Waitress and what was clearly the crowds favourite The Right Side of Wrong in which most people in life could relate to. Del also had what at first, was annoying habit of rambling on between songs, this soon became quite endearing as he told stories that inspired his songs that clearly meant a great deal to him. At times he managed to bring a unified laugh or chuckle out of the crowd as he enlightened us with the story of how he came to be where he stood. As the short lived set drew to an end with the heartfelt song Everything Is Not Enough it was easy to see that if crowd weren’t expecting the main act, they’d have wanted Del to carry on singing and regaling us for hours. This young man from Manitoba Canada clearly knew his roots and had nothing but thanks and respect from where he had come from, making this one of the most gracious performances I’ve seen in a while. His voice was delicate and almost peaceful and he certainly new his way around a guitar. For me, a great all round support act that I hope to see again in the future. The crowd seemed to agree as he left the stage a loud applause. 8/10
As Justin Currie walked onto the stage he immediately broke into a mini set of songs from latest album Lower Reaches. Emotive songs such as Every Songs The Same, Into A Pearl and Pricilla plunged The Gate into a looming dark shadow of thought that Justin is known for and so does incredibly well. A brief aside and Justin promised a lighter pace later on, not that many people seemed to care as the quality of his conveyance and voice was purely outstanding… despite the characteristically depressive nature of his songs. This theme continued with songs from further back into his back catalogue such as The Way That It Falls and a fan requested, and heart breaking song If I Ever Loved You. Many fans visibly tearing up as Justin delivered this anthem with pure perfection as the masses joined in. One thing to note about Justin Currie is that despite his aloof and at times grumpy personality, he fills his songs with nothing but truth an emotion and could almost be considered as an emotional outlet for the talented Glaswegian. Shortly after this, as promised the pace was picked up with a plethora of songs from Justin’s original 90’s band project Del Amitri. Classics including Always The Last To Know, Tell Her This and a personal favourite Driving With The Breaks On which contains a powerful message that every person can relate too in life were set free into the beautifully lit room. After a back and forth between the crowd Justin then settled down behind his Piano and invited a friend onto the stage, preparing himself to deliver songs from his album The Great War. Gold Dust, Half Of Me and the deceivingly cheerful song, Falsetto were introduced with new added depth with assistance slide guitarist Mark Greenshaw, as these songs were offered the atmosphere became more personal as more and more members of the crowd headed to the floor to surround the front of the stage and listen intently to lyrics that were being sung. More requests followed as Justin delved again into his Del Amitri back pocket and satisfied fans with Spit In The Rain and This Side Of The Morning both of which were supported by the fine voice of the Welsh crowd. Following this Justin informed the crowd that he would be leaving the stage, but, if we were loud enough he would “surprise” us with an encore… the crowd duly delivered as they burst out into rapturous applause of whistles forcing the man of the hour to return to the stage after a minute or so. The encore consisted of four songs, the first persistently crowd requested Little Stars to which Justin's voice added a chilling atmosphere as each word was milked of every ounce of feeling possible. Then the outstandingly well written and, what I have always thought to be the unbelievably eye opening and thought provoking No Surrender Pt 1 & 2 were delivered with the spite hatred and anguish that they emote… that was until, Justin forgot the words… oops! About 6 or 7 minutes in he jokingly suggested, “Should I start again?” Instead he returned to the guitar to give the crowd Del Amitri’s biggest hit Nothing Ever Happens to which finished with the statement “professional experience, if you f*ck up pull out your biggest hit”… to right sir! Finally the evening drew to and end as the sensationally moving song Be My Downfall was released, this a song that I have waited a long time to hear live and wow… I was not let down. Again many of the crowd were visibly tearing up as the lyrics were expertly delivered via the deep rough voice, the crowd sang along belting out every last word much to pleasure of the Mr Currie. Too soon the song finished I briefly sat contemplating what I had just heard before joining the massive applause that lead Justin off the stage.
This night was truly a roller coaster of emotion; highs, lows, laughs and poignant moments ensured the crowd and myself were left in no doubt that Justin Currie is one of the leading, but sadly underrated songwriters of our time. The Glaswegian voice with its rough undertone, together with the earlier mentioned personality meant that every song was conveyed honestly and touched the emotions they were clearly written to evoke. A brilliant night of acoustic music that I honestly cannot wait to experience again… once I have recovered 10/10