Saturday, 2 July 2011

823 THE SHUDDERS, Swindon Town Centre, outside Debenhams, Saturday 2 July 2011

A sampler for next week’s Swindon “Big Arts Day”, this; billed as “Mini Arts Day” in the town centre, this event featured various music and dance performances throughout the afternoon on a small temporary stage and performance area, one of which was Tim’s band The Shudders! We actually hadn’t intended to go along for this, but we saw the stage during a morning trip into town, and this enthused our 4 year old Logan into wanting to, “see Uncle Tim play guitar,” rather than go to Wroughton Carnival, which was the plan!

So we popped back into town at 2.30, parking and wandering around to hang out with Tim, the Shudders, friends, girlfriends and offspring! The band took the stage at 2.45 to the friendly and curious, a full band for the first time in ages following drummer Alan’s return to the fold after becoming a dad (congrats, big guy!). Unfortunately, the sound was dreadfully tinny and thin, plaguing them throughout; indeed, after 1 song I turned to Rach and said, “they sound like they’re playing in a tin can,” to which her reply, referring to the temporary open-sided van-style stage was, “well they are, kinda!” Hmmm, not wrong…

Nevertheless, the boys soldiered on, with their usual self-deprecating humour and improving stage presence ultimately winning out over the poor but improving sound. A lovely, slow burn “Mary’s Grace” was given an extra dimension with the drums, fuelling the songs mood changes splendidly, and the equally understated “Sunflower” cut a beautifully hazy mid afternoon vibe. A couple of their more upbeat, jig-along numbers rounded off a fine set, and saw me dancing down the front first with Logan and then Kasey, in between loo breaks for the kids; “Words Of A Fool” a breathless C86 strumalong, and “Lost And Broke” a fine rootsy folk romp, the distillation of their “Pirate Folk” trademark sound.

So, a nice way to spend the afternoon with good friends and good music, a useful warm up for The Shudders’ “Big Arts Day” set next weekend, and a nice lead-in to this weekend’s big outdoor gig for Rach and myself. That one comes tomorrow…

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