The Liverpool Britpop band run through their 90s hits to a reluctant Capital crowd (5 February).
Britpop. It’s not as horrific as you remember it if you’ve lived through it or what you’ve been told if it was before your time. Below the lad fuelled culture and the excess was talented acts. Cast are a prime example of this.
They burst onto the scene roundabout the moment Oasis released What’s The Story Morning Glory and while it’s easy to dismiss a lot of the bands at that time, the Liverpool act deserve a bit of credit. And in All Change they had a debut album that had the perfect guitar band blend of bounce along anthems and odes to fall in love over.
Which is well worth celebrating twenty-five years after its release. Even if the shows arrived a couple of years later due to the pandemic. The sold-out crowd were a little reluctant to show their appreciation, in a typical Edinburgh manner.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Edinburgh. I was born and bred in Scotland’s capital and there’s a chance after one too many deep fried pizzas drenched in salt and SAUCE I’ll probably keel over on one of its famous cobbled streets. But there’s often a snobby attitude, quite rightly, aimed at it’s citizens.
Which explained why a lot of the audience in attendance watched on with arms folded. You wouldn’t get this type of behaviour in Glasgow… Thankfully, it didn’t dampen the spirit of John Power and the rest of the band. They ambled on stage and set about their debut album from all those years ago with a feverish enthusiasm as if they were playing it for the first time.
There’s a proper growl to their songs, with the band having a spine not just, eh, powered by their frontman. A crescendo that escalates through the warmly welcomed album tracks until they hit the first song on their set that was also a single. ‘Sandstorm.’ It continues into another well know number in ‘Fine Time,’ an expertly crafted inspirational hit.
The momentum keeps going even when the pace drops with the likes of quieter stuff like ‘Four Walls.’ Power strained vocals start to falter on ‘Walkaway’ one of the stand out songs from the nineties but at this point no one in the crowd seems to notice or mind. The crowd began to loosen their inhibitions and get into it, creating an energy the band were able to thrive off.
Especially when the massive intro to ‘History’ trampled through the venue and showcased how technically superior they are to many of their peers. There’s the obligatory chant of "here We f***ing Go’' before they close the first part of the show with ‘Alright,’ making the euphoric rouser the perfect ending.
There is an issue with nostalgia shows. Often a celebration of a certain album contains the bands best material. And while Cast didn’t always scale the heady heights of their first album there’s still enough for a decent encore.
There’s a calm start to proceedings. ‘Magic Hour,’ ‘Live The Dream’ and ‘I’m So Lonely’ flow through each other. But fears of a gentle finish are put to bed with ‘Beat Mama’ causing limbs to climb onto shoulders. ‘Flying’ and ‘Guiding Star’ light the fuse and ‘Free Me’ sets the whole place ablaze.
“We’re nothing without each other,” said Power before telling the crowd that they appreciate the fact that they’re able to play in front of a live crowd. And the live crowd were also grateful for the chance to see one of the best bands of the Britpop era. Even if it took them a while to show it.