Andrew Cushin’s first solo headline tour has already seen the Newcastle songwriter play a string of sold out dates across the UK and tonight he’s bringing his feast of perceptive rock’n’roll energy to the Westcountry’s first city.
The spirit of Cushin’s music is summed up by the support acts on offer tonight, the first being Sheffield solo artist Harriet Rose who pours out a set of heart-tuggingly personal ballads and powerful indie americana songs, causing a tender hush during ‘Imagine Paradise’ which Harriet poignantly dedicates to her mum who died when the singer was a child.
Moving promptly on with little time for recovery, London via Liverpool’s The Shakes storm the stage to the tones of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates’ 1960 hit ‘Shakin’ All Over’ and proceed to strike the audience with a bag of Sex Pistols meets Rolling Stones tricks, Iggy Pop dance moves and a guitarist who has menacingly perfected the art of the machine-gun guitar move, a distillation of punk force and baggy rhythm, ignoring the fact that Oasis ever existed.
So by the time the main act takes the stage the venue already knows what’s going on as the performer compiles a list of tracks that veer from the emotional to dirty rock, much in the vein of two of his heroes and collaborators – Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller. Cushin’s released output is still scant so this is the first time many of these tunes have entered this writer’s ears but the singer/guitarist’s backing band are so solid their steam-rolling power would have you, firstly, believing this is a full rock’n’roll group rather than a solo artist and, secondly, that these songs have been part of your life for years. The opening riot rolls through the initial two songs and on to ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ and ‘Catch Me If You Can’ which manages to ring out the heaviest bass rumble with Cushin belting out every word as if his life depended on it.
The football banter is strong tonight, as a Newcastle United badge is propped up over an amp and one fan has even had ‘Cushin’ emblazoned on the back of his magpies shirt, with the singer playfully relishing the opportunity to taunt Bristol City about their absence from the higher leagues, but the mood still manages to shift for a stark rendition of ‘It’s Gonna Get Better’ – the songwriter’s debut single, launching the song with a request for a sing-song from the audience and receiving an abundance of just that in return. For a brief acoustic intermission the rest of the band vacate the stage and unexpectedly for many, including Cushin himself by the shocked and somewhat concerned look on his face, ‘Memories’ and new track ‘Four And A Half Percent’ – a song introduced as being the most personal track the singer has composed, strike such a deeply emotive chord that some fans by the front of the stage break down into uncontrollable sobs, the singer reaching forward once the song ends to offer a cautious but comforting hand in solidarity.
There’s no time at all until a full-band ‘You Don’t Belong’ beefs the atmosphere back up followed by a light-hearted but seething newbie that takes us through to the gigantic, exhilarating set-closing soon-to-be-anthem ‘The End’, with Cushin quipping they couldn’t exactly have played it at any other point in the show. Leaving minimal time for the venue to quieten down, the musicians bound back on to the stage to perform Noel Gallagher produced single ‘Where’s My Family Gone?’ and then they’re off to take the show to another fervent crowd in another unsuspecting city. Rock’n’roll is rarely this relatable and stirring while remaining pogo-worthily exciting, so on the unlikely occasion an artist like Andrew Cushin appears we have to savour them.
There are still 7 dates left on the tour if you like what you’re reading, but dates are selling out all over the place so we recommend getting a ticket quickly. You can see the show for yourself at the following venues:
Thursday 13th October 2022 – The Castle and Falcon, Birmingham
Friday 14th October 2022 – Leadmill, Sheffield – SOLD OUT
Saturday 15th October 2022 – Arts Club Loft, Liverpool – SOLD OUT
Monday 17th October 2022 – Sound House, Dublin
Tuesday 18th October 2022 – Voodoo, Belfast
Thursday 20th October 2022 – King Tuts, Glasgow – SOLD OUT
Friday 21st October 2022 – NX, Newcastle – of course it’s SOLD OUT
The ‘You Don’t Belong’ EP has finally received a vinyl pressing too – You Don’t Belong, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Catch Me If You Can and Runaway along with acoustic demos of all tracks, available at all tour dates and soon to be available online. Keep your eyes and ears open.