How Can Ricky Ross Outrun His Past ?
Q Magazine August 96
KING TUT'S WAH-WAH HUT, GLASGOW June 5th,1996
Why it's called King Tut's will forever remain a mystery, since the venue for tonight's version of Ricky Ross's career- troubling back-to- basics-campaign has more in common with a pigeon loft than the Valley Of The Kings. The heat is most definitely Egyptian though, the sun having chosen this day to playfully reacquaint itself with Glasgow outside,
while indoors it's like walking into a room full of boiling kettles. Ricky Ross has something of a job on his hands. Having disbanded Deacon Blue just in time to avoid stagnation, it's back to the beginning, playing in new album What You Are at small venues, while giant stadium support dates with Bryan Adams beckon. On this showing, the great Canadian will be in threatening company. Having powered through Good Morning Philadelphia, The Lovers and lcarus, the four-piece band moves up a gear for Cold Easter, which has a verse so strong it sounds like a chorus
and a daring, record-accurate, octave- below solo from guitarist Mick Slaven. At this point, things - if it's possible - start to hot up. Deacon Blue's Your Town is shorn of any studio tomfoolery it fair jumps along. Then, for Ross, it's a move to the piano where a snatch of California Dreamin'signals the start of When Sinners Fall. Radio On, the single and a much bleaker song than its backslapping tune suggests, is up next and induces the evening's first real participation as a skinny Stephen King- alike down the front jabs at the air, repeating the title over and over. For the most part though, the crowd are respectful and restrained. Maybe it's to do with the proximity as well as the heat. Certainly on stage, space restricts Ross's movements. He pounds the ceiling, shakes out his hands like a sprinter on the blocks, and occasionally stands, head in hands, peculiarly reminiscent of the original Dr. Frankenstein.
Only once does a Glaswegian Banquo shout for Dignity, cueing a practised brush-off. "He's mentioned the the 'D'word. We're OK with the the 'F'word," replies Ross, reasonably genially, before finishing instead with Love & Regret. lt's a powerful reminder of his ability to transform a hoary old chord sequence into something with real emotional punch and resonance. And the way the dripping crowd at King Tut's reacts to this second and final Deacon Blue song suggests it'll be some time before Ricky Ross can outrun his past. Rob Beattie.