I first started going to live gigs in my early teens. I was underage. I lied about my date of birth so that I could become a member of Friars, a music club based in Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. Life membership was 25p. I still have my member’s card. Wild Turkey in June 1971 was the first live band I saw and some forty one years later I am still occupying live music venues but not pretending to be older than I am!
In my early concert going years one of the bands I saw was Stackridge, then a six-piece, who have since gone through various line-ups, break-ups and make-ups – just a normal day in the office for the music business! After officially disbanding many years ago they re-formed to tour in 2007 and Stackridge are not only touring again but also writing and recording new material having released A VICTORY FOR COMMON SENSE in 2009.
Thirty-nine years or so after last seeing them I found myself at their sold out show in Farncombe, anticipating a trip down memory lane. I got that and more besides with new material Red Squirrel opening the evening’s performance as well as Lost and Found, Long Dark River and the re-worked Boots and Shoes from the latest album. They showed that they haven’t lost the knack of writing melodic songs that capture the audience’s imagination.
From their back catalogue Friendliness and the galloping instrumental Lummy Days were probably ones that had been performed when I last saw them, as too was the closing song, the classic Dora the Female Explorer. Stackridge have in the past paid tribute to the influence of John Lennon and it was good to hear them include Something About The Beatles in the set-list.
Now a five-piece with founder members Andy Davis and James Warren at the helm accompanied by Glenn Tommey (keyboards) Eddie John (drums) and Clare Lindley (violin) they are a well-rehearsed outfit whose years of experience shine through in the quality of the musicianship. In the late 70’s Davis and Warren formed the Korgis, enjoying commercial success and major hits with If I Had You and Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime. The latter featured in tonight’s set-list.
Davis, Lindley and John swapped to ukuleles to perform Tonight You Belong To Me a popular American song written in the 1920’s which was covered by Pearl Jam’s front man Eddie Vedder on his 2011 release UKELELE SONGS. That was a surprise!
Throughout the evening, people mouthed the words to the songs, applauded appreciably and were not at all backward in coming forward to join in when encouraged to do so especially by Lindley on Boots and Shoes. Stackridge at heart remain the quintessential folk-prog band with whimsical characters peppering their songs, classical influences more than just creeping in and a self-effacing wit punctuating the between song banter. Whilst they might not take themselves too seriously, they take their music very seriously indeed and deliver a super evening of entertainment. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them and won’t be leaving it such a long time before going to my next Stackridge show! Jela Webb
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