Manchester International II
Sounds 9th April 1988

Deacon Blue / Fairground Attraction

RICKY ROSS, halfway through Deacon's smouldering set, shirt spilling from his trousers with the passion of it all, fixes his manic stare on no one in particular and sneers, "We're playing all these liberal songs - and you thought we were a rock band!" Quite. . . the note perfect, slickly administered Blue catalogue, with the addition of some new pianoed ballads, shows Ross going for the CD bracket - a bracket that like their conscience- pricking songs is rendered toothless by perfect production. Well liberal! Just as his unliberal followers were getting a bit miffed at sailing on the calm waters of soporific pseudo soul, the shin came off, the voice stoned spitting, and everyone woke up on a rock ship called 'Dignity' 'the encores saw the old fast numbers get sprayed out and everyone forgot the first half in the midst of handclapping and cheering. They all thought they'd had a jolly good time.

But, try as the Deacons might to please all, the night belonged to support band, Fairground Attraction. When they first came onstage people stopped for a moment to check them before getting on with the pre-Deacon bevvies. They checked out singer Eddi, a Doris Day for the '80s who looked like The Proclaimers' sister with her red hair, glasses and Scots accent. They checked out their' guitaron'  a cross between a guitar and double bass, used to produce luscious South American/Romany sounds, mixed with '40s type tea dance music. By the end of the set Eddi's superb, hypnotising voice and bubbling charisma had the inquisitive crowd screaming for more. The pro-Deacon bevvies never got served!
Stephen Kingston