3 October 2014
Stackridge at The Borderline (October 2014)
Stackridge are something of an oddity in my concert going in that they are one of the very few bands that I go to see whenever I can but I have very little of their recorded material and so there is much that they play live that I either do not know at all or only vaguely from previous concerts.
The reason that I keep going to see them despite not being that familiar with their music is because they put on such great performances.
The layout at the Borderline is a little quirky with the auditorium curing round to the left and up some steps to the main bar. The stage thrusts out a little and I usually find myself right at the front to the left of the centre, just where the stage starts to bend. This is not necessarily always the best place to stand and I go there out of habit as much as anything.
This time it meant that I was right in front of main-man James Warren. The rest of the line-up was as the previous year, which is a little unusual for a band whose line-up has changed as much as theirs has. The line-up was James Warren, Clare Lindley and Andy Cresswell-Davis across the front, and Glenn Tommey and Eddie John at the back.
I said last year that they were comfortable together and another year of playing together had made them more so. This was an assured performance with each person playing their parts and confident that the others would too.
Their sound was firmly folk-prog for most of the time and that is a sound that I like.
While the music was fine I found the lighting frustrating, as it often is at the Borderline. There was too much back-lighting for most of the time, hence the white line through James' head above, and then most of the pictures came out purple as if washed with my socks.
Reinforcing the folk-prog feel there was the welcome return of two of my favourites from their early years, God Speed The Plough (73) and Purple Spaceships Over Yatton (72). With such great songs in the set I did not even mind the massed ukulele number!
James seemed to be surprised to be playing songs that were over forty years old and claimed to be seven when he wrote them. That fooled nobody as we all there listening to those songs forty years ago too.
Stackridge mixed the set up nicely with everything from long instrumentals to short quirky pieces and quite a few changes in instruments too, and not just the ukuleles. It all made for a well balanced and entertaining set that went down so well that Stackridge were forced to do two encores, despite the impending curfew which enables the Borderline to change into its night-time form.
As long as Stackridge continue to entertain as well as this, I'll be there to see them.