Music review: Belle and Sebastian

Belle And Sebastian PIC: PA Photo/Soren Solkaer Starbird
Belle And Sebastian PIC: PA Photo/Soren Solkaer Starbird

Closing out the fourth BBC 6 Music Festival on a rare, delightfully sunny day in Glasgow, hometown indie-pop outfit Belle and Sebastian brought all the warmth and spirited charm you’d expect to a show that climaxed with Stuart Murdoch et al surrounded by fans dancing on stage around them.

Belle and Sebastian ****

O2 Academy, Glasgow

Along with the ever-present fey whimsy, there was disco and nostalgia, but also a celebratory feel and positive glances forward, as the singer explored the crowd’s political leanings with a shoutout situating this bouncing corner of Glasgow firmly in Europe. A brilliant The State I Am In, all gently woozy, glistening guitar and layered, evolving lyrics took us back to the fragile storytelling of the band’s origins, while the glam rock nod of Sukie In The Graveyard charted another waypoint on the development of their current, more inclusive sound.

The pretty majesty of Fox In The Snow and a romping version of If You’re Feeling Sinister emphasised the peculiarly uplifting way that Belle and Sebastian have of being inspired by Glasgow’s usual rainy, grey melancholy, and while Murdoch extended salutations of welcome to visiting fans and those listening in on the radio, this was very much a setlist and performance rooted in affection for this musical town.

The familiar strains of the anthemic The Boy With The Arab Strap buoyed everyone up before the swinging Legal Man, urgently lobbying for getting “out of the city and into the sunshine”, felt like a joyous call to extend the weekend.