The thing that most bothered me whenever The Delgados played in their hometown was that gaps between songs offered too tempting an opportunity for punters from the extended Chemikal Underground network to heckle the band with the sort of ‘witty’ banter that only a select few punters would find amusing, or even get.
Given how immersed ADMIRAL FALLOW have become in Glasgow’s musical landscape, with their members regularly moonlighting in friends’ bands and hosting gig nights in the city, there was a fear they might spend the biggest headlining show of their career to date fending off in-jokes.
Two songs in, a lone voice in the crowd shatters the quiet bit of Taste The Coast by screaming, “We love you, Kev!”. Lovable though clarinet player Kevin Brolly may be, thankfully such irritations are few and far between, with the band themselves more focused on putting on a performance of real substance and professionalism.
Augmented by a brass quintet, they play every song from their debut album Boots Met My Face with the exception of Four Bulbs, perhaps not wanting to come across as one-trick ponies by replicating the show-stopping a cappella, microphone-free version they did regularly at gigs in the past year.
The new songs more than make up for its absence. The Paper Trench is a joyous stomp and is as close as Admiral Fallow get to a duet, with Louis Abbott and Sarah Hayes working in vocal tandem. Burn Me Now, which has the lyrics “There’s trouble again on the east end trains”, revels in its tip-toeing melody, while The Way You Were Raised confirms just how far I’ve fallen under this band’s spell when I find myself singing every word to a song I’ve only ever heard live.
With 775 punters squeezed into The Arches’ largest room, Admiral Fallow have long gone past the point of being a band who just play to their mates, and there was no greater evidence of that than when Abbott took the opportunity to let the crowd sing the chorus of their signature tune Squealing Pigs. He also does a superlative solo cover of Switching Off by Elbow (while sounding even more like Guy Garvey, if that’s possible) during the encore to cap a fine night indeed.
Admiral Fallow – The Sad Clown Cast