18 September 2015

Stackridge at the Half Moon, the beginning of the end

Stackridge were one of the few bands that I made a point of seeing at every opportunity and a concert just down the road at the Half Moon in Putney was a good opportunity.

The good news of the concert was twinged with the disappointment that this was announced as their farewell tour. Even more reason to go and see them then.

Seeing them was non-trivial as I had to work in Leatherhead that day but I managed to escape early enough to go home, drop the bag and swap the suit for something more casual.

The Half Moon is a pub with a music venue stuck on the side, there's little connection between the two other than you have to go through one to get to the other. In passing through the one I helped myself to a pint of beer.

Somehow I managed to get there before the music room opened and a little queue developed by the door. I was close enough to the front of it to get a place next to the stage when the door was released. The stage at the Half Moon was across one corner which gave it a lot of space at the front and not much at the back. The downside of that was that Stackridge spread themselves along the front, as they had to, so those on the far right and left sides were some way away from me and were almost side-on to me. I could live with that.

This was my first experience of the new tour and, as always, I was interested to see how the band sounded and what songs they chose to play. I was delighted with both.

The line-up had settled down in the last few years to a five-piece band of Andy Cresswell-Davis on, guitars,  James Warren on bass, Glenn Tommey on keyboards, Eddie John on drums and Clare Lindley on violin. Other instruments were played at times including a trombone (evidence right) and far too many ukuleles than any band has a right to deploy (evidence below).

The mix of instruments were just right for the folksy and progy sound that, for me, defines Stackridge. A sound firmly routed in the early seventies and proudly so.

The set-list had settled down too, presumably because the line-up had. We all have our favourites and it was good to see some of mine included, they are listed here as God Speed and Spaceships.

I liked all of the other songs too, though I have to admit that while most fans seemed to put Dora first I would put it last, but even last in that list is pretty good.

Several of the songs, especially the newer ones like Red Squirrel, I only knew from seeing Stackridge live and I had seen them live often enough to learn and love these songs too.

Everything went as well as expected. The band played well and with obvious delight (evidence above) a set of fabulous songs that got everybody singing, cheering, swaying, clapping and, above all, smiling. It was a wonderful concert by a band in top form.

It ended all too soon, i.e. after a couple of hours, and we were forced back into the pub which had gone through a transformation in the meantime with the arrival of a disco, lots of young people and bouncers on the door to keep things orderly. I found a quietish corner for a quick pint before heading back to Putney station and a train home.

There was a reason that Stackridge were one of the few bands that I made a point of seeing at every opportunity and they proved why again at the Half Moon. A faultless evening.

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