Published on AfterDark (21 April 2016)
Dean Hodge reviews the band’s Cardiff leg of their ‘Jukebox’ 20th anniversary tour, at the recently opened TramShed venue (support from The Standard Lamps). Photography: Nick Evans.
For a band often considered part of the blossoming Britpop scene of the mid-1990’s, The Bluetones were far more inspired by the harmony-laden guitar-pop of 60’s US West Coast bands such as The Byrds, than by the British songbook circa-Kinks and Small Faces that informed the sound of much of their peers. But timeless singles such as Slight Return and Bluetonic have ingrained themselves in the psyche of many of those who were in their twenties when the band started, as well as those lucky enough to discover them since.
Having initially parted ways, the band have reformed for a one-off tour as they raise a gin and ‘bluetonic’ to twenty years since the band’s inception and the release of their soaring debut album Expecting To Fly – an often overlooked, but scarcely overpraised, classic from the 1990’s British indie scene.
Their return to Cardiff coincides with the recent arrival of the ambitious TramShed venue in Cardiff, which in a short space of time has established itself as an integral part of the Cardiff music scene, filling the gap for a suitable ‘medium-sized venue’ that Cardiff has lacked for so long. Its thousand-strong capacity makes it suitable for housing the audience for this gig – albeit many of whom are in their late 30’s to 40’s and whose youth was fortunately soundtracked by the Britpop era. Continue reading
Published on AfterDark (21 July 2015)
AfterDark’s Dean Hodge spoke to the Cast frontman before their performance at The Globe in Cardiff on July 2. (Photo: Kate Swerdlow)
This year sees Britpop titans Cast hitting the road once again, twenty years on from the release of their 1995 magnum opus All Change. To mark this special anniversary the band are currently embarking on a forty-date UK tour, which will culminate in a special live performance with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday 5th December 2015 at the historic Liverpool Philharmonic Hall – tickets for which are currently on sale now. Frankly, such a music milestone merits a finale of fitting finesse.
Their recent performance at The Globe in Cardiff (with Houdini Dax on support duties) came on the eve of the 20th anniversary of their debut single Fine Time being released – a mantra to the unbounded positivity and invincibility of youth , laced with the melodic hooks that would go on to make Cast one of the shining lights of the burgeoning Britpop scene.
Due to the busy summer traffic on the same day as their Cardiff show, the Liverpudlian group arrive later than usual and pull up outside the tiny venue just as rain showers give way to sun, and a heatwave begins to seep into the confined setting of The Globe.
Despite having to rush to unload their gear and prepare for their soundcheck, lead singer and chief songwriter John Power finds enough time to invite AfterDark’s Dean Hodge into the backstage room for a cup of tea and a quick chat. Read the full interview here in which John talks about reforming Cast, the band’s breakthrough at the peak of the Britpop explosion, the release of All Change and what fans can expect on the upcoming tour. Continue reading
Published on AfterDark (15 July 2015)
AfterDark’s Dean Hodge reviews Cast’s performance in The Globe in Cardiff (with support from Houdini Dax).
Britpop titans Cast marked their return to Cardiff in fine style within the dense musical hive of The Globe. Their return tour coincides with twenty years since the release of their inaugural album All Change, an undisputed classic of the 1990’s British indie scene that cemented the Liverpudlian band as one of the shining jewels in the Britpop crown, and earmarked frontman and The La’s alumni John Power as a songwriting force to be reckoned with. Furthermore, their Cardiff gig came on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the debut single release that kicked it all off for them – the ageless paean to limitless positivity Fine Time.
A full-capacity audience greeted their welcome return, standing as testament to the band’s enduring popularity and the timeless appeal of their impressive canon of anthems. There was a mix of generations old and new, from people who have followed the band from the beginning, to new fans discovering them for the first time. Continue reading