The Cure @ Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, 16 Aug

With a lot of their set afforded to Disintegration, The Cure put on an excellent show in Glasgow, 27 years since last playing north of the border

Live Review by Max Sefton | 20 Aug 2019

There’s plenty of birds' nest hair and even a bit of smudged lipstick as The Cure arrive at Bellahouston Park for their first Scottish gig in 27 years, joined by local heroes Mogwai and The Twilight Sad.

For The Twilight Sad this is already a victory lap for their excellent latest record and the setlist reflects that. Expanded to a five-piece, their slick Joy Division-do-krautrock songs sound huge, with walls of guitar rippling out over the audience. Singer James Graham seems genuinely grateful to be here, bursting into tears at the end of a raucous cover of Frightened Rabbit’s Keep Yourself Warm before a soaring coda of And She Would Darken the Memory. It’s been a winding trail for the band to make it this far, but as Graham beats his chest and thanks the crowd, there’s few acts who can generate such goodwill.

Mogwai may still look like members of five different bands have wandered onstage together but the Glaswegians are seasoned pros. They cherry-pick a festival-friendly early evening setlist that includes the gargantuan synth rock of Remurdered and the shoegazey Party In the Dark before the brutalist white noise of Mogwai Fear Satan brings the set to a close.

Finally it’s The Cure, making their first appearance north of the border since 1992. 2019 finds the most famous goths of them all in rude health, celebrating 30 years of their most iconic record Disintegration, so it's only appropriate that the classic album gets a heavy airing.

Last Dance is all gothic romance, Fascination Street crackles with energy, and a closing version of the title track sees an ecstatic Robert Smith declare “fuck, that was a fantastic Disintegration for me” while also showing off just how much tonight’s support acts owe to our headliners.

There’s a bit of a late set lull with midtempo rockers like Primary and Shake Dog Shake but there's no denying the brilliance of pop songs like Just Like Heaven, the type of sugary soft kiss with a dark undertow that Smith writes and delivers so well.

A lengthy encore delivers hit after hit, from a ghostly Lullaby to an ecstatic Boys Don’t Cry. “What an excellent day,” Smith declares. It’s hard to argue with him.