I have to admit that I have never been a long term Delgados fan. The Scottish band until 31st January, when I saw them live, however, did belong on my concerts 'to do' list, mainly because, while I am not a major fan, I did like their 3rd album 'The Great Eastern'.

The Shepherd's Bush Empire concert hall is, with its capacity of 2000 people, quite a challenge for any band to fill up. When I walk in I can see the Delgados have definitely won that challenge over tonight. The front auditorium is totally filled up with people. The white balcony above them is also busy, and it is only an area around the bar at the entrance that is fairly empty.

The Delgados, tonight working as a 9 piece band, appear on the stage just before 9:15. The gentle tune of a violin announces the first song 'American Trilogy'   In a few seconds frantic guitars break in sweeping with their sound over our heads.

Looking down from the back of the hall, I can see a few people in the front jumping up and down with excitement. "I've been hanging round for days/ Still confused about the way you came" sings Alun Woodward, the singer. From the back of the hall the band look, even though they are on the stage, like they have been swamped in the huge crowd of fans. 'No Danger', the next song, builds up on this positive atmosphere.

In between songs frontwoman Emma Pollock thanks all of us for coming and filling up the huge venue. As time goes on, however, I have to admit that I have become slightly bored. The set lacks unpredictability and the songs seem to blur one into another, showing not much difference from each other.

My attention is drawn back to stage when Emma asks bassist Stewart Henderson to tell us an "exciting" story. I try catching any word I can but from what is about a minute long story, I only hear the words "Sheffield", "fucking", and "going" and then the story ends. A tall bloke next to me starts frantically laughing and then grasps his cup of beer and downs nearly half of it.

It's 10:15 and the Delgados are nearly at the end of the main set. Tonight's set has mainly consisted of songs from their fourth and latest album 'Hate'.

When the Delgados walk off the stage, the front auditorium shouts for an encore.

It's only fair that the Delgados return to their instruments to treat their fans to more. 'Monica Webster', the band's first single from 1995, whips the auditorium up into a storm.

From what was an over 90 minute set , I enjoyed the last 20 minutes the most. The Delgados are undoubtedly talented, but I think that the golden rule to be learnt here is 'Less can sometimes be more than too much.'

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Commenting On: London Shepherd's Bush Empire, 31/1/2003 - Delgados

ie London, England

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