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The Mass Media

Views From the Boston Skye-lineBoston Skye-line

Ask your average college student who the Proclaimers are and you’ll undoubtedly get a response like, ” The who?” If you rephrase your question as, “You know those guys, who did that song that goes “And I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more…” the light will finally dawn. You can then expect their comments to range from, “Yeah, I like that song” to “Didn’t they also do something for that movie “Shrek”?”

Indeed, the Proclaimers did contribute an enjoyable tune called “I’m On My Way” to the “Shrek” soundtrack and have been delighting their somewhat closeted band of admirers for years. Hailing from a little town in Scotland called Leith, twin brothers Craig and Charlie Reid make up the duo whose Scottish folk/blues/rock style combines deep emotion with the reality of the human condition.

A longtime admirer of these Caledonian clowns, I had the opportunity to experience their charisma up close and personally on Wednesday night at the Paradise Rock Club on Commonwealth Avenue. The Paradise itself is a surprising change from the usual Boston venue. Wide- open, yet personal, the club caters to a more laid- back following, offering an outlet for bands whose fan base is small, but fervent.

Opening for the boys was an unknown band from Minnesota called The Honeydogs, whose style reminded me of a mid-western Gin Blossoms cover band headed by the guy from Boy Meets World. Now, this may seem harsh but they had two strikes against them from the beginning: they were too heavy on bass and they were delaying enjoyment of the band I paid to see. Never one for patience in a crowd, I have always held a grudge against opening bands.

Gratification finally came around 9:30, when the Proclaimers claimed the stage and broke into “When You’re in Love,” a witty take on the nauseating lovesickness of new couples, one of many catchy tunes on the duo’s first new album in four years, “Persevere.”

Among other numbers that brought a heartfelt cheer from the crowd were, “Let’s Get Married,” “There’s a Touch,” and “Letter From America.” More akin to a night with old friends, the Proclaimers’ infectious smiles and deep, fantastically talented voices brought the audience together in celebration of the little things that make life worth living.

Ending early, but on a cheerful note, with their hit “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” the brothers were persuaded to return for an encore and treated us all to a little extra with “Then I Met You,” Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” and “Oh Jean.”

All in all, I found it to be a night worth repeating. I also found myself in possession of a stylish T-shirt, and renewed my love for two boys from Scotland who can talk (as well as sing) incredibly well.

To learn more about the Proclaimers, see a video of their new single “There’s a Touch,” and find tour dates, visit their Website, www.proclaimers.co.uk. I urge you all, college students, educators, fellow city dwellers, pick up copy of “Persevere” and settle in for a taste of Scottish exuberance, soul-touching wisdom and advice about “the part that really matters.”