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The Delgados/The High Fidelity
Glasgow School of Art, May 26th 1999

Thursday night in Glasgow, and the locals are out with their Filofaxes and mobile phones and heading for the Art School. Hang on, these are interlopers, left-over from Radio One's Music Live. Camden must be a lovely place to be at the moment, peaceful and without music-biz moguls. The only puzzle is why these Essex would-be accoutants aren't watching the Man.Utd. game on TV. Mind you there are a few benefits to all this industry hype. Not only do we get a gig with local hopefuls the Delgados, but we also get Sir John of Peel to introduce, "without underpants", the High Fidelity.

concertpic Sean Dickson's latest venture, the High Fidelity, have been viewed as being a bit throwaway, what with their poppy singles harking back to the days of the Soup Dragons, being good enough for Simon Mayo to make Record of the Week, but commercial success has so far eluded them. And you can perhaps see why, although there's a distinct hummability in their tunes, there's still an alternative edge to them, searing guitar combines with 'whooh whooh' backing vocals to make a pretty decent racket. They mainly debut new songs, such as National Anthem but also air at least one bona-fide pop single in Come Again. They end with an amazing song influenced heavily by their recent trip to India's Bollywood, in fact they introduce the leader of the orchestra they worked with there on violin, but not before Sean has proposed (in front of several million radio listeners) to his girlfriend Catherine. Never one to go for the easy option, this could be the start of something big for Sean, in both senses.

conserterpic The Delgados, in turn, are introduced as "like sons and daughters whose phone bills we don't have to pay" by Peel, and that's true, the Delgados have become as much a fixture in the bedrooms of listeners to the Peel radio show as they have symbols of the DIY record industry via Chemikal Underground. Tonight they play mainly new stuff; happily, by that I mean much of Peloton, plus 3 (you spoil us!) new songs - all untitled so far, though Emma does announce one, which is particularly lovely, as being called Dead Air, which is actually not a bad name for a Delgados tune. The recent singles are all worked through (Everything Goes being treated to Stars in Their Eyes-style whoops on the first line). The band seems to have become a seven-piece proper, with violin, cello and flute being permanent instruments, also to be heard on all the new material - though they prove that they can still rock out (something which some sceptics had doubted) and drown any non-electric backing when they want to.

So, on the night that one of Glasgow's other sons was doing Big Business In Europe, some of the city's other offspring have the entire crowd on their side. And John Peel has adopted them. Local kids made good indeed.

Copyright © 1999 Stuart McHugh e-mail address

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