Cast, Dodgy & Black Grape – Live Review – Millennium Square, Leeds
By @Steve Crabtree, August 2019
The summer season at Millennium Square, Leeds has given the city all sorts of brilliant music and events. And the triple header between Cast, Dodgy and Black Grape gave fans of the 90s guitar scene an excuse, if they needed one, to head out on a Friday and get thrown back to their school days and beyond.
Each armed with a back catalogue of memorable tunes from an important era for British music, they took thousands of us back a quarter of a century, and gave us a brilliant night.
At 7:15, it was an early start. It was Dodgy who were given the honour of stepping up first, and they didn’t let us down.
Kicking off with ‘Staying Out For The Summer’, the rock outfit took the crowds right back and gave a good reminder of a time when guitar music was all you ever needed. And they sounded great.
We had them for just under an hour and they played many tunes from their album Homegrown, which they’ve recently been touring again to celebrate its 25th anniversary. ‘Grassman’ was a particular early highlight of the entire night, and they were tight. Drummer Mathew Priest had already told us they were playing and singing better than they’d ever played. And you’d be pushed to find anyone who could disagree.
They played hits such as ‘In A Room’ and the singalong anthem ‘Good Enough’. And you realise why you see them featured in any and every documentary about 90s summer music festivals. They’re that type of band, and they suited this open air venue perfectly. A brilliant choice to start things off.
After a small break, and time to get a beer from the tent, Shaun Ryder’s Black Grape were next on the bill, and the hoverers at the back shuffled further forward for their slot.
‘In the Name Of The Father’ and ‘Reverend Black Grape’ meant that they too scattered hits in to their set. And whilst the musicians behind them are superb, Black Grape seems to be more about the double act of Shaun Ryder and Kermit nowadays.
Jovial banter between each song, and often during a track was funny in parts. But it seemed forced in others. Ryder was known in Happy Mondays for a bit of cool patter between some of the tunes. Tonight he didn’t need as much. But, although it took something away from the music they were giving to Leeds, Black Grape were good and their set energised the place as it started to get darker.
‘Kelly’s Heroes’ was one of the night’s big hitters, and after two great bands, pressure was on for the final act of the night to follow.
“Worthy of the headline slot”
But then, step up Cast. It was darkness by the time they arrived on stage. And their set was well worthy of the headline slot they were here for.
Led by John Power, complete with that moppy hair (and hat), Cast just know how to put on a show. They’ve got a back catalogue which throws you back 25 years, and has you hanging on to every lyric.
Crowd pleasers like ‘Sandstorm’, ‘Guiding Star’ and ‘Alright’ were all met with roars from an approving audience. They played more recent stuff like ‘Do That’ too.
But for me, Cast’s calling card will forever be ‘Walkaway’. When they performed that to Millennium Square, it was the song that got everyone in the place singing in unison.
For only £28.50 per ticket, we got three and a half hours of big music. Three bands who are all still around performing for a reason – because the guitar music of the 90s will never date.
Tonight in Millennium Square, we were given a brilliant throwback to this era. And Cast let us go home on a real high.