It's a blue Christmas for Scots band

DEACON Blue are feeling festive - and getting ready to roll out their hits.

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Deacon Blue are playing the SSE Hydro tonight
Deacon Blue are playing the SSE Hydro tonight

The Dignity and Real Gone Kid hitmakers wrap up their current arena tour with a massive gig at the Glasgow Hydro next Friday night.

"I'm really looking forward to it, but I'm kinda nervous," laughs singer Lorraine McIntosh.

"It's been a while since we played anywhere that big - on this tour the next biggest venue is Liverpool, and the Hydro is twice the size of that.

"Ricky went down to see Rod Stewart there and he mentioned how people just talked all through the quiet songs - you forget that at huge gigs it's hard to keep that intimacy and connection with everyone in the room."

That means the band will be packing the set with hits to keep the crowd on its feet all night.

"It's a different experience from other gigs - you need a different mindset and a different setlist for shows like this," adds Lorraine.

"You can play the Concert Hall, and get people standing in silence while you do three B-sides, but that won't happen at the Hydro.

"It's also five days before Christmas, so it's going to be a really up night, a Christmas party."

The band is full of festive cheer. They're releasing a new Christmas themed EP, You'll Know It's Christmas, as an early present for their fans on Monday.

"For about 10 years Ricky has wanted to record a Christmas album, and I wasn't sure that was a brilliant idea, but maybe we should think about a EP," says Lorraine.

"We both love Christmas songs, and every Christmas there's a hunt to find the best Christmas album to put on in our house, although we go back to the same one nearly every year, by a singer called Bruce Coburn.

"So Ricky wanted to record some Christmas songs, he had one called Starstruck, that was written about 10 years ago, and said he wanted to write a really positive Christmas song too, which became You'll Know It's Christmas."

The Christmas crackers are continuing the band's recent creative hot streak. Last year's The Hipsters album was well received by fans and critics alike, and marked the group's first new studio album in 11 years.

It's clear it's revitalised the band too.

"When you're gigging for a number of years with no new songs to sing, it gets a bit boring," says Lorraine.

"Having new material has really reinvigorated the whole thing for us. I think you become a heritage act if you're just doing album tracks from 20 years ago."

That's why the band happily hit the road earlier this month for a full tour, and while Lorraine admits the group have "too much going on to make this a full time thing again" there are already plans to record more material next year.

Their recent tour has also reminded the band how much they mean to some people.

"Ricky and I were out in Oxford yesterday, and this guy stopped us, with a woman and his teenage children," she recalls.

"We thought he was asking for directions, but he'd actually come from Frankfurt, in Germany, to attend the Oxford gig.

"Their flight had been cancelled, so they'd got the train to Paris, then the Eurostar to London and then another train to Oxford. That blew us away.

"You can take a gig like that for granted, but out there in the audience are people who are spending a lot of money to come and see you, and just as you grow up, you realise it's a privilege."

Away from the band, Lorraine has also established herself as an actress, both on stage and on screen, with a long run in River City. She's hopeful that she can work in more acting roles next year.

"I'd done Let The Right One In last year with the NTS, which has just opened and gone down a storm in London, but unfortunately it was booked for the same time as this tour.

"Next year I'm going to try and arrange it so I can stay with something through until the end - I'm fed up pulling out of things.

"They both compliment each other brilliantly - the acting scares me, but it's good to be challenged and scared by something."

Before then, though, there's the matter of a family Christmas with husband Ricky and their three children.

"I do love the festive season, although it could end up with it being every two years instead of one," she chuckles.

"It used to be I'd take the Christmas decorations out and think it's been so long since I've seen these, and now it feels it was only last week I'd been putting then away.

"As your kids get older, and they're away at uni or in other parts of the world, it's really nice to have them home, and that brings a new dimension to the whole thing."

l Deacon Blue, The Hydro, Friday December 20, £30, 6.30pm

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