Start to End play Hats by The Blue Nile
Mackintosh Queen’s Cross, Glasgow

Though tasked with the unenviable job of filling the shoes of arguably Scotland’s finest ever male singer, Admiral Fallow’s Louis Abbott has at least one head start – like Paul Buchanan, he has humility in spades.

His chat is as modest as his vocal range is suited to the material being presented on a Saturday night to the audience, the bulk of whom, you suspect, have been hungering for a show such as this for far, far too long.

The average age of his six bandmates is around 30, Abbott reveals at one point, which means some weren’t yet born when The Blue Nile’s second long-player was released on October 16, 1989.

Fortunately, they have learned the complex simplicity of Hats well and guide the moist-eyed audience on a compelling journey through both a record that bleeds with significance and back to a time before the physical and mental scars that invariably accumulate over three decades.

Across the seven songs on Hats and encore of Tinseltown in the Rain, Start to End also demonstrate a fluency that effortlessly brings out the joy and heartbreak that power the music of Buchanan, Robert Bell and PJ Moore.

Strings appear in just the right place, Joe Rattray's bass parts are dead ringers for the originals, and Abbott, whose delivery is markedly more Caledonian than Buchanan’s, strikes a near-perfect balance between loyalty to the recordings and creative interpretation, doing exceptional justice to the album’s two most heart-stopping songs, Let’s Go Out Tonight and From a Late Night Train.

The standing ovations that follow the conclusion of Saturday Night and the encore are testament to the fierce appetite that remains for the music of The Blue Nile, whose tenets of love and hope reach up like the tall buildings Buchanan sings of in Tinseltown. In the absence of any activity from the music's creators, if it takes a tribute concert to underline the fact then so be it.