Nearly eighteen months on from a superlative show at Glasgow’s City Halls, Tindersticks were back in Scotland, albeit at the other end of the M8. It’s been years since I’ve been at the Queen’s Hall. It’s smaller than I remembered, and a little on the shabby side, but has a good reputation for acoustics, one that’s deserved.
At the Glasgow show, the front end of the set was loaded with selections from the (then) new album, The Hungry Saw. What had at first seemed a collection of a handful of great songs and its fair share of filler came to life in spectacular fashion. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Falling Down a Mountain, and the weakness of the material just couldn’t be covered up, no matter how much heart and soul the band put into it. A glistening Marbles stood out head and shoulders above the rest in a first half dominated by new songs.
The older stuff was superb. City Sickness was dusted off, and Can We Start Again was transformed into something akin to Gospel. It was good that the band revisited different material from their past to the stuff they showcased at Glasgow – in fact, with the near absence of anything from The Hungry Saw, there can’t have been more than a couple of songs at the most (possibly none) that they played at both shows.
As a live act, Tindersticks are a band at the top of their game. As far as new material goes, though, they seem to be in a bit of a dry patch. But they have a rich back catalogue that would be the envy of most bands.