The 8th of June, 2022. An unremarkable afternoon as summer was just beginning. I was in the midst of my bout of COVID, a few days before I travelled to Leica in London for Bruce Gilden’s masterclass. Seemingly out of nowhere, Glasgow band The Delgados announced their reformation and plans to tour in January 2023. The Delgados are hugely influential and pivotal band for me both musically and, as it happens, also in life. Inspired by their own independent record label, Chemikal Underground, I formed my own, too many fireworks, and the rest is, well, a masterclass in big ideas and long-term underachievement. Nevertheless, after 17 years, The Delgados were back. I got myself a photo-pass and on the evening of the 25th January this year – Robert Burns night – I was standing, surrounded by friends, in the Glasgow Barrowlands waiting for the lights to go out.
The show began with a lovely instrumental support performance by Andrew Wasylyk and his band. For my sins I hadn’t spent a lot of time with Andrew’s music in the past though that’s been rectified recently. An apposite record for this website is his Hearing The Water Before Seeing The Falls for which “the initial seed of inspiration was conceived as a commissioned response to ‘The World’s Edge’ exhibition, by American contemporary landscape photographer Thomas Joshua Cooper, at the National Galleries of Scotland”.
Though it was only 45 minutes, the time between Wasylyk’s band finishing their set and The Delgados appearing on-stage felt interminable, but appear they did, joined by strings, flute, piano and others. The band’s walk-on music began as the lights disappeared. The Barrowlands was bursting. The set began with Everything Goes Around The Water, and ended with Thirteen Guiding Principles and in the 90 minutes between the band gave a perfect live account of what one might call a greatest hits set.
The sound in the venue was as good as I’ve heard it, and the band themselves were on top form. The delgados treated the audience to a cover of Burns’ Parcel of Rogues, and Chemikal Underground’s first release, the band’s single Monica Webster. A particular highlight for me was The Light Before We Land, a song that evokes such nostalgia for a particular time and place in me.
As the show was coming to a close, singer Emma Pollock teased a further Glasgow show at the Kelvingrove Bandstand coming in the summer. Announced last week, tickets for the August 12th show are now on sale. You’re damn right I’ve already got mine.
All photos were shot on Kodak Tri-X 400 and push developed in Ilford Microphen at 3200 ISO.