18 December 2012

Stackridge at The Borderline (December 2012)

I am a relatively recent convert to Stackridge, after a little dabbling in the late 70s while at university, and am making up for lost time by catching them in concert whenever they come close.

If my blog is to believed this was the fifth time that I had seen Stackridge in about four and a half years.

The Borderline should have been easy to get too but for the second time I arrived with the headline act already on stage. This time the excuse was somebody  hit by a train at Earlsfield which, somehow, also screwed by the Richmond/Waterloo line horribly and I got there about an hour later than anticipated.

As with the gig in Sutton in May, this was the new line-up, new sound and new set of songs, some of which are still reassuringly old. The main difference is that the two violins at the back are now one violin at the front and the guitar (and ukulele) duties are shuffled.

James Warren is still the main man and he does most of the talking now that Mutter Slater has gone.

Also there from recent versions of the band are Andy Cresswell-Davis on lead guitars, Glenn Tommey on keyboards and Eddie John on drums. Joining them and taking the front spot is Clare Lindley on violin.

The sound they make has a strong progressive heart, even in their new songs,  with folksy trimmings. In other words they sound much like they always did if slightly less heavy given that they are one guitar down on their peak.

Their appeal is very old school, surprisingly. Whereas bands like Hawkwind can attract the young and the female, the Stackridge audience was almost exclusively fiftysomething men in black leather jackets. I suspect that the few young people who were there came with their dads.

Those dads had a great time, as did we all, and every song was enthusiastically welcomed at the start and cheered at the end. All too soon it was over, especially for those of us who missed the start, and the venues brutal curfew ended the show.

There was an unannounced chance to mix with the band afterwards as they came in to the bar area via the back door but, for once, I had nothing particular to say so did not interrupt them to say it.

The new Stackridge have settled in nicely and everything about the performance was comfortable and assured. And that is enough for me to carry on seeing them.

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