It was with eager anticipation that I headed to Brixton Electric to watch a band that I can probably thank for putting me on the path to finding many of the bands I love today. Cast had their heyday during the 1990s Britpop scene, but never quite managed to continue on to have the huge success of their contemporaries Blur and Oasis. Their live shows were once described by Noel Gallagher as a “religious experience”, and, having been slightly too young to see them in my youth, I was keen to see whether they could resurrect their glory days.

Before Cast took to the stage I got the chance to check out John McCullagh and the Escorts. The young singer-songwriter is no stranger to big support slots having already opened up for the likes of the Enemy, the Strypes and Richard Hawley since being signed to Alan McGee’s 359 label at the tender age of fifteen. Now still only seventeen McCullagh has recruited his band (the Escorts), and is currently working on his second album 'Newborn Cry' which is set for release in 2015. Having collaborated with Cast front man John Power on the forthcoming record, they were obviously a natural choice as support for this tour. The recent single ‘Box of Tricks’ is a standout with McCullagh showing that he’s also a dab hand on the harmonica. Their retro, bluesy-folk sound has elements of Bob Dylan and McCullagh has the same witty tales of Northern towns as a young Alex Turner, his vocals bearing more than a passing resemblance to Jake Bugg without being quite so grating. ‘Short Sharp Shock’ was another notable highlight of the set. The crowd seemed to react to them really well, and with the backing from big names it’s likely we’ll be seeing a lot more of them next year.

Cast were formed in 1992 when former La’s bassist Power joined forces with members of fellow Merseyside band Shack. Following their split in 2001 the band reunited in 2010 to embark on an acoustic tour which was followed up by the release of the album ‘Troubled Times’. They recently announced details of an as yet untitled new album due for release in 2015.

Proceedings were kicked off at the Electric in a relatively subdued manner with ‘Timebomb’ from ‘Troubled Times’. They followed this with ‘Promised Land’ from their first album ‘All Change’ which soon woke the audience up. A few technical difficulties occurred in the early part of the set which seemed mostly down to the sound system in the venue - the Electric isn’t one of my favourite venues and the sound can be questionable – but it didn't seem to dampen the bands or the crowds spirit though with Power clearly experienced enough to just get on with ensuring the fans had a good time. Early on in they introduced new track ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ - the song was recently released online and has a slightly more stripped back acoustic feel - an indication that they still have a few new tricks up their sleeves.

The middle of the set saw the band play the emotive, sing-a-long favourite ‘Walkaway’. It came sandwiched in between two other ballads – ‘I'm So Lonely’ and ‘Live The Dream’ - and by the end of the latter there can't have been many dry eyes left in the house as we all reminisced about the good old days.

The rest of the set was littered with fan favourites including ‘Flying’ and ‘Finetime’. Songs such as ‘Beat Mama’ and the rockier sound of ‘Free Me’ still managed to sound fresh. The encore saw the inclusion of ‘History’ from ‘All Change’, its guitar heavy jam being a highlight. There was no other way to end the night other than with the upbeat ‘Alright’. It was hard to believe it was released twenty years ago now.

As the crowd bounced around and sang almost every lyric back to them, for that hour in Brixton it felt like we had gone back to the mid-90s and it felt more than ‘Alright’.











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