Timid as fuck, Scottish singer-songwriter Siobhan Wilson stood alone on stage, only accompanied by the unoccupied instruments surrounding her that The Proclaimers would eventually rip into later on that evening. People watched in awe and joy as this shy lone ranger with an angelic voice serenaded them with such songs of hers as “Whatever Helps” and the French from Paris “J’attendrai,” which she leaned her guitar up against a chair for and replaced with a piano. Although many stood around the bar, yapping off their big dumb mouths, there was a healthy-sized, predominantly middle-aged crowd front and centre supporting the very talented Siobhan Wilson. It was very endearing to witness such a bashful and humble person belt out such beautiful music, almost as if she enters her own world of comfort when performing her songs. There was also this fucking loudmouthed lady moron obnoxiously cheering for Wilson like Kramer’s friend Toby in Seinfeld heckling Mr. Jerry during his comedy act.
The Proclaimers. Oh, how they did shout out. I’d walk 500 miles to see these guys play. Well, maybe just five miles, and take a cab home. With a 28-song setlist, all the big time Proclaimers fans who attended their show on Wednesday must have been in their glory. Truthfully, I went into that venue only knowing their two biggest hits “I’m On My Way” and “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” and although they played those two flawlessly with full, youthful-like energy, they played so many other great tunes that should have received a lot more attention over the past few decades. After seeing these guys play, my playlist has expanded with songs like “Let’s Get Married,” “Hate My Love,” and “Life With You.”
The sound quality and performance was at studio standards; it sounded like the recordings and the feeling and sight of a crowd of younger and older people bouncing around with smiles on their faces while singing along with the guys on stage was heartwarming. With the exception of the slower “Sunshine On Leith,” every song they played was upbeat and entirely uplifting, creating a real sense of wholesome fun. The Proclaimers truly provide a great soundtrack for hiking up to the mountains with a million shit-cans of beer, getting hammered, and then stumbling back down while singing along to their songs. I won’t say that the performance was packed with stage antics or some elaborate light show because it was not. Aside from drummer Clive Jenner being super jittery and hyped up, the twin brothers Craig and Charlie stood with poise behind their microphones while lead guitarist Zac Ware and keyboardist Steven Christie also held down their respective sides of the stage. For the majority of the show, they weren’t the most crowd engaging act, but towards the end of the night during “Then I Met You” is when bass player Garry John Kane began signalling to the crowd to clap along with them on stage as Craig Reid shook his tambourine. After playing 25 solid hits, it was difficult to imagine if they would play an encore and what song they would even perform like one. Well, they surely didn’t fail to come back on stage following “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) and play three apparent crowd-pleasing songs: “Cap in Hand,” “Make My Heart Fly,” and “Joyful Kilmarnock Blues.”
Written by Keenan Kerr
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Danielle Kenedy