Saturday night was the Scottish Tsunami Benefit Concert at the SECC. As it was probably one of the more momentous occasions of 2005, a précis is in order.
Doors were an ungodly six o'clock; allegedly, die-hard fans had been queueing seven hours prior to that; accordingly, we turned up at six and were soon inside. Spending the next hour sitting on the floor, reading the £5 programme (that I didn't buy), we waited until the lights went out and host Craig Hill bounded on stage to introduce the first act. [Craig Hill and campness—too much of a good thing? Discuss.]
The Tsunami All-Stars were Eddi Reader, Eugene Kelly, Kevin McDermott, Norman Blake and Stevie Jackson. And they belted out a rendition of the Proclaimers' classic, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles). Which really begs the question: what were the brothers Reid doing that beats playing a sell-out crowd at the SECC?
Most bands were playing for 12 minutes, which, coincidentally, is exactly the same as the perfect length of a Deacon Blue. No messing about, three hits performed with gusto, and off again.
Colin MacIntyre, or Mull Historical Society to friends, would like you to know that he's playing two gigs tonight. He started by suggesting valiantly that the crowd sing along with his latest single, and ended by recording a message of hope to be played at his couthier Tut's gig.
Is it wrong that I found myself enjoying Slam (feat. Tyrone Palmer)? They were an outlier in the predominantly indie/rock line-up, but perhaps the charitable nature of the event prevents me from slating them.
In stark contrast was Kevin McDermott, armed with only an acoustic guitar, and nary a hypnotic video screen to be seen. He sang three pleasant ballads, and though I'd heard none of them, I was, like the rest of the crowd, singing along by the end.
Mogwai came on, played two instrumental songs, and left without saying a word. Those in the crowd who had turned up for Sharleen Spiteri didn't know quite what to make of it. I, on the other hand, was too busy comparing their pudgy front-man to a grown-up Verne Troyer.
Belle & Sebastian are the best Scottish band of all time. As to why they were only accorded a short set, we can only guess, but they wheeled out the big guns, playing The State I Am In, The Boy With The Arab Strap and I'm A Cuckoo. Stuart wore a fetching hat.
The last time I saw Teenage Fanclub play live, they were supporting REM (my Tuesday-night appointment) at Stirling Castle in 1999. Except this time, no wags in the crowd were inviting them to play Far Away, and my brother was standing next to me, feeling old when he saw how their hair has greyed since the early nineties. (Before I forget, Simon Pegg introduced them.)
I was particularly looking forward to hearing the Trashcan Sinatras. I've passed a few dreamy hours listening to their comeback album, Weightlifting. They opened with All The Dark Horses, followed it with an older song, Heyfever, and ended with a great acoustic version of the title track from the new album.
I must admit that I nipped out to the bar during Eugene Kelly's set. First they ran out of cider, then they ran out of vodka—things were looking grave. Sadly, there was no Son Of A Gun (which wouldn't have worked, anyway), but bigger Nirvana fans than I might be interested to know that he did play Jesus Doesn't Want Me For A Sunbeam.
Travis have still got it. I may not listen to The Man Who too often these days, but I'm as guilty as the next man of singing along when they play the old hits. The fact that the next man was jumping up and down like a mad thing at the time is neither here nor there.
This is not the first time that I have seen Idlewild play a charity gig. Nor is it the first time I've seen them play an acoustic set. The two combined on Saturday to yield mixed results. Next time, boys, bring a couple of electrics and rock out, y'hear?
Which brings us to… Franz Ferdinand. Their music makes me dance. When they're playing their hits to a crowd of 10,000, I get so carried away that I don't mind that the people behind me are laughing at my spastic moves. Multiply that by three, and you have our little corner of the arena on Saturday night. We got Michael, Matinée, a version of Jacqueline that went via Nirvana's In Bloom, and (no prizes for guessing) Take Me Out.
Let's ignore the fact that Eddi Reader and Texas followed: the night had reached its climax, and there was nothing to top Franz. But there was one last pleasant surprise.
After Texas finally gave up the ghost, on popped our Craig to introduce the surprise act: Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol. And so we were treated to a rousing acoustic version of Run. Then it was off into the night.
PS. In case you were wondering, we headed to The Garage afterwards.