Although tonight’s show is billed as Cast playing the whole of their classic debut nineties album All Change to commemorate the LP’s 25th anniversary, a notable gig in itself, your reviewer here is equally as excited to check out It’s Creation Baby’s most tipped signing The Gulps live for the first time as he is to hear some of his favourite teenage anthems in the flesh, which speaks volumes about the quality of The Gulps first three singles. Happily, both bands far exceed expectation.
It does seem the majority of the audience here are purely fans of the headlining act eager to rekindle some fond nostalgia of their obligation-free youth, but as The Gulps wait until 8pm to take the stage a heavy crowd has already gathered, curious to check them out, and the band thrive on the ready attention.
Visually, The Gulps are striking – guitarists Charlie Green and Francesco Buffone stand out in green and red sweaters, Buffone in matching red bandana, while the rest of the band don leather jackets and denim jeans gaping at the knee, a jacket that frontman Harry All discards partway through their set to reveal a french Debbie Harry tee shirt.
Let’s focus on Harry All for a moment, a veritable firecracker in front of four men who could otherwise maintain a Strokes level of blasé cool. His stage presence is commanding, with hand movements and claps like Mick Jagger but a facial expression emitting John Lydon levels of indignation.
The crowd are kept engaged throughout the band’s eight song set, comprised of plucky new missives from a debut album that’s currently in the works, epic melodic punk songs featuring sprightly riffs, plenty of high kicks and lyrics that appear to claim “music can change the world”, a lively cover of Blondie’s punker-disco-classic ‘Atomic’ leading into their own punker-disco-classic lockdown banishing, lithe spirited latest single ‘King of the Disco’. ‘Stuck in the City’ and ‘The King’s House’ storm the band through to the end of their set and the growing crowd is in uproar by the time The Gulps leave.
From the brand spanking new to some solid gold nostalgia, the venue is packed by the time Liverpudlian indie veterans Cast enter the room. Frontman John Power looks resplendent in a t-shirt emblazoned with a Working Class Hero slogan and is in talkative mood, expressing immediately how glad they are to be playing the show after two COVID casualty postponements.
The entirety of All Change does get played tonight, but in a different order than the original album tracklist. The singles, a bunch of under-acknowledged classics, get the greatest applause – ‘Sandstorm’ gets the room dancing, ‘Finetime’ keeps the gathered 90’s dads happy and animated, the anthemic ‘Walkaway’ inspires 800 heads to fly backwards, arms outstretched, eyes tight closed, chanting along. It’s album track ‘History’ that gets Cast moving on stage more than any other with an enrapturing freakout red lightshow as the guitarists break out the largest solos of the record. At this point John Power takes to the mic again to declare that the intention of the All Change shows has been to perform “a bunch of songs that captured a moment in time”, that they “don’t want to reclaim the past but it’s nice to make peace with the present”, a challenge that seems to have been achieved. To end the first half of the show and the album section the quartet break out their ultimate Britpop masterpiece ‘Alright’, ensuring a groundswell of encouragement to get them back onstage for part two, the ‘rest of the hits’ section.
Everyone’s undoubtedly come here to hear ‘All Change’, however the second part goes down really well as, although maybe not hitting the highs of their debut release, the singles of Cast’s ongoing oeuvre are still lodged deep inside our collective psyche, so tracks like ‘Magic Hour’ the wavy ‘Live The Dream’ and ‘Beat Mama’ keep the Tramshed captivated and ‘Flying’ manages to muster up the same ecstatic reaction ‘Walkaway’ gained all those many songs ago.
From a show where britpop legends Cast have managed to make peace with the present, new indie-punk hopes The Gulps have succeeded in getting us riled up for the future. Perfect!
The Gulps are currently finishing off a UK tour with gigs in Camden Assembly, London, 07/06/2022 and Castle Hotel, Manchester, 08/06/2022 both sold out.
Cast have a bunch of festival dates still to play this summer. You can check out the full listing over on their official website.
Find videos for The Gulps ‘The King’s House’ and Cast ‘Alright’ below: