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Review: Deacon Blue, SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Jonathan Geddes' verdict: Five stars

If the weather outside was hardly a winter wonderland, then Deacon Blue's Hydro appearance at least offered a suitably festive feel. This was half gig, half office party night (there were a fair few Santa hats on show) and it succeeded as both.

That bells'n'holly vibe was perhaps unsurprising, given the band's recent Christmas EP, which provided a couple of numbers, including an amusing encore that featured an inflatable reindeer and a backing choir.

More of a shock was just how good the band sounded in the vast confines of the Hydro, with an extremely sharp mix letting them boom out. There was a terrific twang to the shuffle of Queen of the New Year, and Your Town has rarely sounded so venomous.

It also displayed the voice of Ricky Ross, which was in fine, rasping form. His banter was undoubtedly on nodding terms with 'let's hear you sing' style cliché, but as a performer he continually whipped up the crowd with ease while singing the tunes with such self-belief that you never doubted his conviction.

He was ably assisted by the whirling Lorraine McIntosh, and Dougie Vipond drummed with the glee of a child who's just discovered Father Christmas has visited.

The hits were guaranteed a reaction, but they were played purposefully and crisply, from a exuberant Real Gone Kid to a Chocolate Girl that detoured into Ross telling a jokey tale about travelling around Glasgow.

This was a evening geared towards a jaunty night out, a feeling which carried into a tinsel-tinted encore that included a run-through of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and a triumphant Dignity that would have placed festive cheer in even the most Scrooge like individual.

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