THEY may have had the ignominious honour of appearing in a poll of most hated Scottish bands last month, but it seems no-one thought to tell Deacon Blue's loyal army of fans, who are again turning out in force to see the group on their current UK tour.
Love them or loathe them, there's no denying this lot were a pop phenomenon at their peak, enjoying, as they did, no less than five Top Ten albums and 18 Top 40 singles.And while the days when they dominated the charts with best-selling singles like Dignity, Wages Day, Real Gone Kid and Fergus Sings The Blues are rooted in the past, Deacon Blue remain a massive draw on the live circuit, where tickets for their concerts continue to sell like hot cakes.
Today, its members see the band very much as a part-time thing, but they are still a long way off retirement."We all have different jobs and families, but one thing is the same for us and that's the feeling when we are on stage together - it feels great," smiles Lorraine McIntosh, 43-year-old mother of three, who comes to the Edinburgh Playhouse on Sunday night, alongside husband Ricky Ross and the rest of the band.
As the annals of pop history show, Deacon Blue formed in Glasgow in 1985 and enjoyed a decade of chart domination before splitting. They got back together five years later, though at the time of reforming they had no idea if people still wanted to hear them."It was five years on and there was lots of new stuff out there, but tickets sold out in about an hour," recalls McIntosh of Deacon Blue's comeback tour. "Then the record label wanted to put out a greatest hits and we said: 'At least give us the chance to do some fresh stuff'."
The band went on the road touring again in 2001 and have been in demand ever since. Part-timers they may be, but it's becoming something of an annual thing for Deacon Blue to rock the Capital at this time of the year. Last November, it was at the Usher Hall that the band entertained with their solid back catalogue of singalong hits. And if anyone wants to measure their popularity right now, it is worth noting that the Playhouse is an even bigger venue.
Not bad for one of this country's "most hated" bands.