The Pogues, Carling Academy, Glasgow
THE POGUES ***
CARLING ACADEMY, GLASGOW
THE Pogues' pre-Christmas tour is now as much of an institution as the traditional sport of offering amateur opinions on Shane MacGowan's wellbeing. Here goes... it could have been a trick of the light, but he looked to be radiating a semi-healthy pallor and was steady enough to balance a pint glass on his head to much general merriment.
The rest of his party piece went off as expected - he growled his way through a succession of energetic jigs and spent the remainder of his time looking faintly befuddled by his surroundings. At his best, he unleashed his inner troubadour for one tender, waltzing piano number and was joined by 2,500 backing vocalists on the immortal Dirty Old Town.
The band were on spirited form, though the muddy sound meant that the music was often more rabble than rousing. It was, for example, not always apparent whether they were playing the riotous Sally MacLennane or one of the other reels that sound a bit like it.
In the end, sound quality was of little consequence to the crowd, who simply used the band as a conduit for a party where they knew all the steps in advance, they could count on Spider Stacy banging a tray over his head at some point, and winding up with everyone's favourite Dickensian carol, Fairytale of New York.
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