Proclaimers acoustic tour heads to the Birchmere

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Entertainment,Robert Fulton

It's not a stretch to identify the Proclaimers biggest hit.

The Scottish folk duo made up of brothers Charlie and Craig Reid is best known for "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)," made famous by the 1993 Johnny Depp film "Benny & Joon" and constant radio play.

Speaking by phone from their hotel in New York City, Charlie said that they don't mind performing their biggest hit.

"We do it in the context of a show," Charlie said. "I think we would get tired of it fairly quick if that was the only thing we played. We always do longer gigs. We're really happy with the song. It makes other people happy. It's taken us to places and given us opportunity because of its success. The song's way, way bigger than the band will ever be. It keeps us on the road, it keeps people interested."

Onstage
The Proclaimers
» Where: The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
» When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
» Info: $25; 703-549-7500; birchmere.com

The Proclaimers perform Tuesday at the Birchmere.

This time around, the show will feature just the Reid brothers doing a stripped down acoustic set, as opposed to a full arrangement with a backing band.

"It's kind of going back to our roots a little bit," Charlie said. "We can vary the set a little bit every night. We adapt some of the songs for the acoustic show. Some of them probably work better acoustically I think. A vast majority of the material we've recorded over the years can be adapted somewhat."

Charlie added that the acoustic sets offer a more intimate feeling.

"The show's going to be a little rough and ready," Charlie said. "I think the passion and the commitment and I hope the quality of the songs come through more clearly with the acoustic setup."

The Proclaimers released their first album in 1987, and have nine full-length efforts, including 2012's "Like Comedy." The duo plans to release a 30-track compilation album later this year.

"It was quite a difficult thing to put together," Charlie said. "For every song we put on, there was always one alternative. It wasn't straight ahead. We had to think about it for a long time. It's not quite as obvious as you may think. Sometimes when there's a lot of material to choose from, it's quite a laborious prospect."

After a number of shows this year, the band plans to take a break in 2014 to recharge batteries and work on new material.

"I wouldn't say we're Olympic athletes, but ... it's quite a physical show that we do," Charlie said. "It's quite hard singing. You've really got to want to do it. I think some people start off in bands and they love it. Then after years of being on the road, sometimes people don't really want to do it any more. I think we've always wanted to do this."

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Robert Fulton

Examiner Correspondent
The Washington Examiner