TO BE honest, they could have been an embarrassment and this gig would still have been a life-affirming experience. Much to Lloyd Cole’s discomfort, there was an overwhelming, unavoidable element of nostalgia woven into this emotionally charged Commotions home-town reunion show, celebrating the 20th anniversary of their evocative debut album, Rattlesnakes. But nostalgia can’t be all bad, or even at all bad, when it elicits such an outpouring of goodwill.

Fans travelled from all over the country for this communal exchange of fond memories, As it turned out, the band were great.

Who would have thought that a bunch of earnest young Glaswegian bohemians in black shirts would still be held in such affection two decades later? That a students-favourite of an album, which shamelessly cited film stars, favourite authors, mythologised American locations and girls in turtlenecks, would have aged so gracefully? And that 2,000 people would remember all the words to Perfect Skin.

The band have worked hard to make sure that their songs are as good as we remembered them, opening with the freewheeling Rattlesnakes itself. Immediately the audience were plunged back to the mid-80s. In their day, the Commotions were a band out of step with the contemporary climate; now, they seem to articulate that specific time and place with bold brushstrokes.

There were few surprises, but many delights, such as the recollection that Lost Weekend was so darned catchy, or the sight of guitarist Neil Clark hunched studiously over his guitar exactly as he was 20 years ago.

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Publication: The Scotsman Newspaper

Publication date: 14/10/04