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STV Entertainment

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, 22 Jan 2013

Raul Malo, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

January 22, 2013.
Photo:  Dave Taylor

Concert Review:
The Mavericks at the Celtic Connections Festival, Glasgow, Scotland

Depending on which age bracket you file into, you've either led the way or have been dragged on to the dance floor as a result of last night's offering from Celtic Connections, now venturing into the second week of its Glasgow takeover.

With those leaders forming the bulk of the crowd, ordered in their various severities of plaid shirts and some even topping it off with a hat, the Scottish reunion of Floridian country stars, The Mavericks, had the Royal Concert Hall at swollen capacity.  Without much more than their wedding anthem in my vocabulary, I took my ignorant self to my seat, wondering if this show would involve line dancing and, if it did, how would I ever escape such torture amongst a hall full of dance floor draggers on a ratio of at least 40 to 1.

With shouts of, 'Go on Raulllll', the crowd didn't hold back, as The Mavericks, performing last night as a nine-piece, threw themselves into Back In Your Arms Again with complete ease.  The pulse of the ska-influenced offbeats dished out a licence to groove, move, or just generally thrash around, depending on your preference, or how much you were truly up for the show.

The winners of many top country awards are incredibly diverse, and ticked the genre boxes, as they neatly surfed through flamenco styles, accordion solos, Tarantinoesque guitar, and boogie-woogie piano, the latter unlocking the uniformity of the seated rows for dancing in the aisles.

Showcasing much of their new album, which is to be released later in the year, both the band and the fans showed no signs of tiring any time soon, adopting an upbeat track listing rather than doing any slowing down with age.

Taking the show into traditional rock 'n' roll territory, There Goes My Heart twisted the crowd into the infamous Dance The Night Away, the song treated like a hero rather than a drunken uncle that's always showing up at family parties.

More than satisfying the crowd just there, what at first seemed to be an encore, developed more into a slower-paced second half.  With frontman Raul Malo starting it up with a solo section, fans cheered him on like a horse, 'Go on son', reiterated amongst the tiers as he worked through an old traditional song.  Dream River made the most of the acoustics in the Concert Hall with Malo's rich vocal permeating through the domed expanse.  In response the crowd purred his name, though more along the lines of a Bengal tiger than a kitten.

Joined at a relaxed pace by the full band, the performance remained immaculate as the highly skilled musicians worked through fan favourites, with a cover of Twist And Shout thrown in for good measure.

Coming back on stage a third time for an extended encore, the show teetered on the edge of self-indulgent, though fans remained buoyant, and would probably challenge me to a high noon shootout for such a comment.

Closing up with All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down, quite the opposite could be said for the effects of The Mavericks on their fans, who remained ecstatic to the end.  If your dad was one of the many there last night, this morning is just about the right time to ask for any favours.

Kirsten Lynne
STV entertainment
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