Texas, with support from Hightre, at Inverness Leisure Centre.
With a large and anticipatory crowd waiting for the arrival of somewhat frequent visitors Texas, they were treated to a set by Hightre a duo featuring electronica with guitar and vocals. The opening was reminiscent of Revolutions era Jean Michel-Jarre and as the set progressed they had an 80s synth sound embedded within each song. Although light at times, with a real nod to what Arcade Fire are currently producing, they pressed in an art school direction with a song about Wolfgang Tillmans’ photograph ‘Lutz and Alex sitting in the trees’, and also a cover of The Cure’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry.’ Hightre were a fine opener for Texas, and I really hope we hear a lot more of them. They could be something special.
After much anticipation the mobile phone cameras shot up as Texas took to the stage, and ripped into ‘Halo’ with the gusto that you’d expect to delight their expectant fans. In terms of the music this set the tone with a set that covered the length and breadth of the Texas discography. The band delivered each song without fault, and wherever possible the audience were involved.
This involvement stretched further than just the odd singalong as Sharleen Spiteri engaged the Inverness Leisure Centre audience as if it were the Market Bar, giving the sports barn a level of intimacy not normally associated with such gigs. With so much banter going on from digs at her daughter, especially her accent, to praise for local taxi drivers it was one of the most engaging shows that Inverness has seen for some time. Even that wee slip up when she referred to Aberdeen and not Inverness was easily forgiven even if Sharleen was finding it hard to forgive herself by referencing her little faux pas in her patter a few times later during the night. As someone of the same vintage we all have those senior moments now and again…
This could all have been a bit of a distraction from the music but instead it helped produce a very rounded show, as we were led through this carefully selected mix of tracks from the Southside years, through to recent release ‘Jump On Board’ after which the tour was named. ‘Let’s Work It Out’, ‘Can’t Control’, ‘Midnight’ and ‘Tell That Girl’ were all generously received by a crowd who had a deep appreciation of the band and weren’t purely there for a greatest hits set.
A late in the evening costume change signalled the ramping up of the set as ‘I Don’t Want a Lover’ headed the charge as ‘Black Eyed Boy’ and the ever so smooth ‘Say What You Want’ rounded off the night, although the crowd were being primed for the encore. An encore that saw “Inner Smile’ and the ubiquitous ‘Suspicious Minds’ round off one of the finest nights in the sports centre.
It was a night when it all came together. A fine support act, a generous audience, a genuinely appreciative band, and a fair smattering of Sharleen’s natural Glasgow warmth and humour. There is a great affinity with the band that you don’t see in such an obvious way at a show. Just need the sign outside the city now: Inverness twinned with Texas.
See photos of the night below;