Justin Currie - Manchester Academy
Since a 2002 tour to promote Del Amitri's spectacularly unsuccessful (and vastly underrated) album “Can You Do Me Good”, very little has been heard of the band's frontman Justin Currie.
He has worked on a couple of low-profile side projects in his native Glasgow, including spoof band The Uncle Devil Show and his collaboration with Eddi Reader, With Strings Attached, but it's his much anticipated solo debut "Rebound" that has seemingly occupied most of his time.
The forthcoming release of the album has also prompted Currie's return to the live arena but the packed basement club in Manchester's Academy has also come to hear old Del Amitri favourites, and the roar that greets the opening strains of "When I Want You" when he and his new band bounce on stage, is deafening. It's a reception Currie is evidently grateful for and even a typically self-depreciating remark that his new material is comprised of "lots of songs about death" doesn't subdue a raucous crowd.
New songs "Gold Dust", "Walking Through" and "What Is Love For" are dark and melancholic, but they intersperse effortlessly with older classics such as "Always The Last To Know" and "Driving With The Brakes On", and share a similar melodic majesty. "I'm An Unbeliever", the b-side to Del Amitri's last single (which Currie sarcastically admits "sold about four copies") is given a rare outing, and along with this, the biggest cheers of the night are reserved for a brief acoustic rendition of "Move Away, Jimmy Blue" and the sheer brilliance of "Be My Downfall".
Promisingly, though, the show’s highlight is new song "No Surrender"; an epic social commentary of modern Britain that features Currie's trademark astutely observed and often-damning lyrics - a "Nothing Ever Happens" for the 00s.
It's a sad indictment of today's music industry that a songwriter of such talent remains without a record deal, but whether Currie releases "Rebound" independently or through a major label, on tonight's evidence, the album - like this gig - will be well worth the wait.