The Overtones are in Glasgow to have a party, a great big, joyous Christmas party, and while it totally and utterly fulfils this brief, in a year that has been more than challenging for the band, this is a night filled with huge happiness and just a little sadness.
This hasn’t been the easiest year for The Overtones, following the death of lead vocalist Timmy Matley and critical conversations about the future of the band, but from the moment they bound onto the stage to the strains of Womack and Womack’s Teardrops, you are utterly assured that their decision to carry on as a four-piece is the right one.
Occupying a unique niche in the market with their blend of modern Doo Wop, the band truly have wide, multi-generational appeal. Added to their vocal talents, this is a quartet who put their hearts, souls and considerable physical and emotional energies into every performance.
The audience are literally on their feet from the first notes, and the feel-good hits just keep coming: You To Me Are Everything, Runaround Sue, My Girl and Rockin’ Robin particularly fit their vocal harmonies and set the party atmosphere. However, the audience inevitably knows that a remembrance of Matley’s life would come. And so it does in the form of a trio of songs specially chosen to celebrate him: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (their last song recorded as a 5-piece), the Spice Girls’ Goodbye and I Say a Little Prayer, the poignancy added to by the sight of Matley’s beaming smile projected behind the band as they sing.
Before the interval, the band manages to ramp the happiness back up, delivering Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.
The festive factor is represented by a clutch of Christmas classics: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Let It Snow and Driving Home For Christmas and there’s a duo of ear-pleasing original songs from the latest album, new single Stand Up and By My Side. But it’s the party tunes that have the sold-out audience dancing in the aisles: Love Really Hurts, Get Ready and Gimme Just a Little More Time, have the joint jumping.
While the loss of Matley’s vocals is of huge consequence, Mike Crawshaw and Lockie Chapman more than step up and are, as always perfectly supported by Darren Everest and Mark Franks. Fans will be delighted to know that the sharp and original choreography is still very much in evidence and beautifully executed.
The band round out the evening of mutual love with the entirely appropriate Love Is In the Air and leave the audience on a high.
The Overtones prove that good, old-fashioned quality will always win out, and if the reaction of this Glasgow crowd is anything to go on, it will continue to do so for many years to come.