REVIEW: Scouting For Girls at Mareel

Scouting For Girls, with frontman Roy Stride on keyboard, pulled off a successful gig in Mareel. PHOTO: Steven Johnson

Scouting For Girls defied the march of time to deliver a show-stopping performance (quite literally) at Mareel last night (Thursday) to mark the first date of their UK tour.

A complete rendition of their chart-topping debut album from 2007 (including She’s So Lovely and Elvis Ain’t Dead) went down a storm with the young audience.

Not even an ill-timed fire alarm could knock the four-piece off their stride as they returned from the evacuation with a high-energy second half incorporating their new single Dancing In The Daylight.

However, the first treat of the night was a half-hour set from local band Forgotten Sons.

Still abuzz with the thrill of a recently-signed record deal, the isles rockers made their time on stage count, delighting the crowd with “choon” after “choon”.

At 9pm, however, it was time for the main act. Walking on to the James Bond theme, there was no disguising what the opening gambit was going to be.

A firm fan favourite with its emphatic chorus and playful lyrics, I Wish I Was James Bond ensured a strong start and an immediate outlet for 39-year-old frontman Roy Stride’s bouncy enthusiasm – which proved to be highly infectious.

With the audience still gasping for breath after Heartbeat, the opening notes of Elvis Ain’t Dead signalled yet another moment for the highlights reel.

Half-way through the track, Stride disappeared, leaving the audience scratching their heads. He emerged on the balcony, gazing down at his adoring fans, milking every moment as he orchestrated a sing-along.

At times, it was hard to work out who was enjoying themselves more – the band or the audience.

But on a night when everything was going so well, something eventually had to give.

The rendition of the self-titled album was not long finished when, at 9.55pm, the fire alarm rang out and the auditorium was filled with the flash of red lights, prompting an evacuation.

Scouting For Girls, for their part, were the consummate professionals, refusing to let the interval rule out a swashbuckling second half.

Having said that, with crowd-pleasers such as This Ain’t A Love Song, and She’s So Lovely among the hits left to play, there was little danger of the night going out with a whimper.

In truth, it was just getting started. Each of those tracks elicited just the sort of giddy reaction you would expect given their chart performances (no.1 in 2010 and no.7 in 2008 respectively).

New single Dancing In The Daylight, played for the very first time live, is cut from the same cloth as the rest of the group’s back catalogue and, for that, it reaped the rewards. The Mareel crowd loved it.

But not as much as Posh Girls, a track from the 2010 album Everybody Wants To Be On TV, which cranked the fun-o-meter up to 11.

On a night which could so easily have been spoiled by the unplanned interlude, Scouting For Girls managed to top-and-tail the interruption with a little bit of gold dust, banging out hit after hit with little let-up – and great dollops of charm – to produce a show which will live long in the memory of their nostalgia-tripping fans, who left with beaming smiles.


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