Reviewed By: Nick Dalton
Stackridge at Bull Theatre, Barnet in London
Saturday, April 21, 2012
And then there were two. A couple of years back the glorious Stackridge reunion yielded four original members, and now the count is Andy Davis and James Warren. It’s always fun following the band, although one does rather need a scorecard. This tour Crun Walter, who seemingly believes that doing up his new house is a better use of his time rather than playing with the finest of pop-folk-rock bands, joins Mutter Slater on the sidelines. Both are still part of the band and will, in the way of Stackridge, who were always famed for splitting faster than the atom, will undoubtedly be back.
Stackridge Photo: Steve Clark via Facebook
And that leaves the current line-up, which is no bad thing at all. There’s not previously been a David/Warren nucleus without one of the others. The band (now a five-piece against, I think, nine at the reformed outfit’s height) look a little thin on the ground on the wide stage of this curious theatre club, but the pastoral pop music is rich and heady. There are even a couple of new songs, Dummies, and the jolly, British Beside The Sea.
The slimmed down instrumentation has forced changes. But this, again, is Stackridge and they’ve lived with that throughout their existence.
An innovation is the ukuleles; on the gentle Friendliness Davis was joined by violinist Clare Lindley and drummer Eddie John in a uke trio, while Davis brought his out again for the perfect, dreamy pop of Fish In A Glass. Warren has taken over Walter’s bass duties, adding a flowing, lead guitar-like bass backdrop. Which is all to the good as the band do need more than the one guitarist they now have (Davis), which leaves the impressive keyboards of Glen Tommey filling the gaps. On the expansive Long Dark River, Lindley – fast becoming a mainstay of the band’s sound – moved to acoustic guitar.
It’s business as usual when it comes to the set list with favourites new (well, newish: Red Squirrel, from the band’s classic reformation album A VICTORY FOR COMMON SENSE) right through to the encore of Dora The Female Explorer, from their 1970 debut, and things in between (The Road To Venezuela, Something About The Beatles, Big Baby).
Stackridge change and you know that sooner or later they’ll change again. What would we do without them?
– Nick Dalton
(Originally posted May 2012 on Scout66.com)