Simple Minds review – a jumbo celebration of past and present glories

Barrowland, Glasgow
A less blokey lineup sounds modern and impressively energised, while Jim Kerr sings with innate confidence

In a crammed hometown venue you suspect they could fill twice over with friends and family alone, Simple Minds are throwing a party. Their current UK mini-tour marks both 40 years since their first ever gig – at a long-defunct discotheque in Glasgow city centre – and their 17th album, Walk Between Worlds, recently cracking the top five.

The result is a jumbo-sized celebration of past and present glories sprawling enough to include the new record played in its entirety, two mercifully brief on-stage interviews with a local DJ and a snowballing cavalcade of standouts from a career that has zigzagged between electronica-infused post-punk and strident, stadium-filling anthems. They have even brought along a customised disco ball.

With singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill the only remaining founder members, Simple Minds certainly look different from their blokey 1980s heyday: their current line-up includes the fluid drummer Cherisse Osei and eccentric solo artist the Anchoress. The overall effect sounds modern and muscular, capable of evoking the early robo-funk of Love Song and the lushly orchestrated new ballad Barrowland Star, which gets a suitably rapturous reception in the venue that inspired it.

Kerr performs with the innate confidence of a frontman who knows he has a flotilla of showstoppers in reserve. He power-croons Waterfront, the towering song built on an unstoppable Terminator bass line, and leads the crowd through the air-punching chorus of Alive and Kicking. The climax, inevitably, is the Atlantic-spanning hit Don’t You (Forget About Me) but even after more than two hours, Simple Minds sound like they are just getting started: an impressively energised feat.


Graeme Virtue

The GuardianTramp

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