Like childhood summers where recollections are endlessly sunny, memories of a certain Friday night mid-90s Channel 4 show evoke images of Cast performing their latest single.
The TFI generation (and probably some veterans from the Tube generation too) were out in force to witness the return of one the city’s forgotten bands.
Always a band that the arbiters of cool never seemed to accept, over the course of their career Cast have managed to gather a loyal following – many of whom have returned to see them on this 14-date tour.
Having originally spanned the Britpop years, they have reformed after nine years away to play a number of gigs culminating at the Liverpool O2 Academy tonight – the final night of three. Like the first two nights, the venue is packed to the rafters.
The gig showcased songs from their debut album All Change which was probably the strongest of the band’s four albums. There was certainly a feeling of diminishing returns over the course of their recording career, but it was in a live setting they were a force to be reckoned with.
There was some deviation from the original track listing of the album and three songs in to the set, the unmistakable opening of Sandstorm had the venue bouncing for the first time; this energy coming from the crowd and band alike as Cast – still cutting similar figures to those of their heyday – confidently ran through their debut album.
Lead singer John Power was a beaming presence all night, apparently overwhelmed by the reaction the band were getting from the crowd. As he looked at to the back of the room he mused that O2 Academy looked ‘bigger and wider than last week’.
Power is obviously in his element being back in the band, he dismissed the years away from the band as the wilderness years, which is a tad harsh as his solo material had its merits and got progressively stronger over time.
The opening notes of Walkway heralded the only Cast song where lighters can reasonably be employed. History closed the set and it’s guitarist Liam Tyson’s set piece as he wrings out percussive beats from his guitar for the intro and the extended outro.
Power returned with just his guitar to pay tribute to John Lennon, with a cover of Working Class Hero perfectly well observed. The rest of the band then returned for Free Me, from Mother Nature Calls.
It was good to see Cast back in a place where they excel – and for the right reasons too. There was an energy on display tonight from fans and band alike – that augers well for the next chapter in Cast’s career.
Image courtesy of John Johnson