02 November 2017 (gig)
04 November 2017
Justin Currie is in fine voice at London's classy Jazz Cafe but sadly so too are some of his 'adoring' fans. They are failing to adhere to the basic rule of gigs - and this at a venue famed for having graffiti on the walls politely asking customers to 'shut up' during the music. While this causes a distraction for some of the more attentive members of the audience later on, the venue's intimacy seems to throw Currie at first. There is a mistake during the opening song and he explains that it feels like "you're all on top of me". Once settled though, Currie shows off why he has such a loyal (if boisterous) following.
Joined on stage by two guitarists and a drummer, this latest tour sees Currie performing tracks from his recent solo outing, This Is My Kingdom Now, alongside material from his time with Del Amitri. Of the newer songs, the latest album's title track sounds terrific, as does one of the year's lost singles Sydney Harbour Bridge, while the fun Hey Polly features some of Currie's best caustic lyrics. It's when he goes through the Del Amitri back catalogue that the crowd stretch their vocal chords, both in appreciation and in full singalong. Driving With the Brakes On (possibly the greatest song ever written about abortion), This Side Of the Morning and Move Away Jimmy Blue are all greeted loudly, while on Be My Downfall the crowd takes over the vocals.
There's a stripped back version of Always The Last To Know, where the song's cutting twist hits even harder and there is a fabulous new arrangement of Kiss This Thing Goodbye, turning a piece of driving country rock into a smooth slice of pop-soul. Similar to that is the underrated solo track Anywhere I'm Away From You, where Currie's smooth vocal is fully exposed. But he gets angry on edgier songs like I Hate Myself For Loving You (with its Tom Petty tones) and even angrier on Everyone I Love, where he sings of "giving his bitter side a little exercise". Then there's the seven minute finale of No, Surrender, with its biting political statements and damning social commentary.
That political vitriol can leak onto his Twitter account at times and you are left to wonder which is the real Justin Currie? Is it the producer of classy and heart wrenching moments like My Soul is Stolen or the angry middle aged man "spewing" painful reflections of love and loss like I Love The Sea. The answer is probably somewhere in between but at times tonight you kind of wish some of his anger was directed at the drunken men spoiling this show for the majority.