WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA—This concert was a case study in the unquestionable value of excellent songs, enthusiastically performed. The Proclaimers are the brother duo of Craig and Charlie Reid, two Scotsmen who write heartfelt songs (mostly) about love and sing ‘em like they mean ‘em. And since this pair’s recent Born Innocent album is such a strong start-to-finish effort, tonight’s tour stop promised to be a memorable one.
Without a doubt, The Proclaimers didn’t disappoint. The siblings opened with the new album’s title track, and then performed almost every track from the project. Whenever I see a show where an artist handpicks only one or two tracks (usually singles) from a new album, it makes me wonder if the performer lacks confidence in the new material. But the strength of The Proclaimers’ latest compositions was readily apparent. The songs ranged from the political disgust of “Blood on Your Hands” to the self-deprecating humor of “Hate My Love.” And there were dead-honest love songs like “Unguarded Moments” and “You Meant It Then,” which aimed, unwaveringly, right for the tear ducts. Much like a pitcher who knows he has wicked stuff, Charlie and Craig had complete confidence in their material.
Of course, the Reids also rocked out their mega hit, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” which became hugely popular as a single from the soundtrack of the 1993 film Benny & Joon. But even then, the brothers got into it physically by doing synchronized knee bends as they harmonized together. If an act sings its biggest hit like it was somehow something brand new, it’s always a good indicator they’re actually “into” the evening’s performance. The Proclaimers, though they’re probably considered one-hit-wonders by some, also played a few of their other notable songs, including the couple-affirmative “Let’s Get Married,” and the touching “Sunshine On Lieth.”