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.

This time they were back at the Borderline where I last saw them almost exactly a year previously.

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.

I had no complaints about the sound though. The music was excellent and the sound system did it justice.

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.


  1. Glad you enjoyed the gig so much. It was indeed another memorable event. As a measure of how well the band were received at The Borderline (as they always are), it was the only occasion on the entire Autumn tour that they performed three songs in the encore segment, with Slark being given its sole Autumnal rendition.

    Watch out for news of an Autumn 2015 Stackridge tour - details of this will be confirmed on www.stackridge.net.

  2. Buy their bloomin' albums then ya cheapskate, and learn what you've been missing all these years! (Just kidding - about the cheapskate bit, definitely NOT about the fact you really should buy their recoded output, and that of Andy & James' related band The Korgis.) Thanks for giving them such a great, independent review. From one who has been a fan since 1973.


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