B&S – SMOOTHER OPERATORS!

Stuart Murdoch and gang kick off their first UK tour for more than two years...

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN kicked off their first UK tour in two years last night at the DUNOON QUEENS HALL in their nativeSCOTLAND last night (June 9).

Playing before a 600-strong crowd, the band were joined for the first time by new recruit Bob Kildae on guitar, following the depature of founder member Stuart David.

However, at other points in the evening, the eight-strong B&S posse were joined onstage by a string section, a flautist and brass players from support band Dave Wilson And The Uptown Shufflers.

Playing for an hour and 20 minutes, frontman Stuart Murdoch and co played 20 songs and kept up a healthy repartee with the audience.

Songs included older tracks such as ‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ along with new single ‘Jonathan David’, which is released through Jeepster on June 18.

Between songs, Stuart dried his grand piano, explaining that that was the way his mum used to do it after he had sweated all over it.

Another comic interlude was provided halfway through the evening, when the band suddenly realised there was a gap in their set list.

At this point, Stevie Jackson came to the front of the stage to ask: “Does anyone have any requests? But not Belle And Sebastian songs?”

Despite a host of requests shouted from the crowd, he pretended not to hear any and instead launched into the first few bars of Sade’s ‘Smooth Operator’ before realising “That’s all I know. I’m a smooth kinda guy”.

As he finished, Stuart remarked “Is that it?”, to which a laughing Stevie replied: “What do you mean? Do you want blood?”

Then Stevie launched into a jam of Elvis Presley‘s ‘Suspicious Minds’, which was soon picked up by Richard Colburn on drums, Bob on guitar, Chris Geddes on keys and Mick Cooke on trumpet.

At the end, Stuart looked to Bob, congratulating him and commented: “Stuart David

(the departed guitarist that Bob replaced) would never have tried that.”

The band finished with their 2000 hit single ‘Legal Man’.

However, despite a polished set from B&S , audience reaction was mixed.

Gary, 26, from Glasgow “didn’t expect it to be that good” whereas Cheryl, 27, also from Glasgow, felt “it wasn’t enough for me – I was waiting for more”.

But Stuart, 25, who’d travelled up from London, thought it had been well worth the trip. “I thought they were really good. Well worth travelling up for.”

The band’s Mick Cooke thought the gig had been a good start to the tour.

Speaking to NME.COM after the gig, he said: “It went quite well for the first gig. It’s the first gig in two years so it’s going to take a while.”

Belle and Sebastiancontinue their tour tonight at Perth City Hall (June 10), Dunfermline Carnegie Hall

(June 11), Aberdeen Music Hall (June 14) and Glasgow Barrowlands (June 15 and 16).