Perhaps that was due to Raul Malo and company, here up to a nine-piece outfit, opening with four tracks from their forthcoming comeback record – it was a workmanlike beginning to a lengthy evening.
Those new tunes have toned down the country elements quite heavily, focusing on the band's more Latin-tinged rock 'n' roll, with Lies featuring some Duane Eddy guitar and Come Unto Me motoring along behind the always reliable Paul Deakin's drumming. There is always a fine line with the band though, and the odour of cheese sometimes wafted in too strongly during their cheerful, permanently grinning toe-tappers, notably on Pretend's cruise ship croon and on the inevitable Dance The Night Away.
That number finally brought the crowd to their feet, though, and it seemed to jolt the band into gear. If the first half was too often quite literally static, save for keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden dancing about like a man who had accidentally set his socks on fire, then the second half rumbled along more purposefully. A slower-paced three song set by Malo not only displayed his excellent voice, but also proved a rawness that contrasted with the earlier slickness.
While the band may never exactly be trendy, they did display far more proficient power, with Guantanamara slipping cleverly into a leisurely Twist and Shout cover and rattling versions of I Said I Love You and the encore's All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down possessing both good nature and fine playing in abundance.