Cast led the sold-out Liverpool O2 Academy in 2022 with a performance that soaked the crowd with nostalgia from the Britpop era. The quartet led by the evergreen John Powers didn’t roll back the years so to speak, they are still near their peak three decades after first forming.

The songs bounced off the walls, 90s guitar jangles packed with colour. There was a sense that after a turbulent couple of years with the pandemic, this sound of positivity was exactly what was needed.

The Liverpool band are on a UK tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1995 release of their seminal Britpop album All Change. The wait for the tour was pushed back two years because of the Covid situation, but finally, the local lads were able to come back to Liverpool on the second leg of their tour and give their fans what they have been waiting for.

The setlist saw them play the album in its entirety, with a few other belters thrown in for good measure.

While the techs tuned up, there was an atmosphere of anticipation in the crowd..an excitement that was bordering on a collective nervousness. A strange feeling as if they didn’t know what to expect, which is peculiar considering this band has been around since 1992.

Then on to the stage, they came under a purple stage light. Frontman Powers brimming with energy and they kicked things off with ‘Promised Land’. A song perfectly suited to open with, the jangly 60’s riff coming from Skin Tyson’s guitar immediately filling the room with a feeling of ease, an absence of worry.

It took time for the crowd to react though. They seemed subdued. It could have been a case of just being ‘knocked for six’ because of what they were witnessing…one of the 90s great bands.

Needless to say Powers had energy to spare for every member of the audience and they soon caught on, when the intro to ‘Sandstorm’ came through the airwaves…then it erupted arms went up, people began getting on one another’s shoulders and the O2 was rocking.

‘Finetime’ came next which was oxygen to the fire. By this stage the place was hopping, as were the band. Powers had springs in his legs. He and drummer Keith Lewis were rocking out together and absolutely loving it. It has to be said, that not a great deal is known about Lewis in the public eye but he is a fantastic drummer, who really belts the toms. The true spine of the band.

The four-piece finished with yet another instantly recognisable classic ‘Walkaway’. By this stage the people in the crowd, after a few pints from the bar, found their voice and sang along with Powers. Arms aloft or round one another the room swayed in unison. Brilliant.

Powers sprinkled in some other material from later albums, while great songs examples like ‘Bird Cage’ and ‘Roar’ to a back seat this evening. It was all about the songs off their debut that was the main event this evening.

 

 

 

 

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Jack McGahan

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