Words: Jim F / Pictures: Phil Kidd
It’s almost like a select club as we talk to people ‘in the know’ at Sheffield’s Leadmill. Most of us ‘of a certain age’, we compare the first time we saw them (conjecture for me – Huddersfield Uni, Leeds Warehouse or an all-dayer in Bradford, probably about 1989? – I can’t really remember now), and how many times we reckon we’ve seen them – I reckon maybe 20, but I’ve no idea really. And yet here we are 30 something years after their inception, watching Cud, the Leeds indie-funk band we all love so much do what they do best.
What it is that draws us in is also open to conjecture, but I’m gonna have a stab at all the things they show tonight as they dazzle the crowd with their set – Mike Dunphy’s brilliant guitar work, Carl Puttnams incredible vocals, the fact that, despite the loud shirts and sunglasses, Cud have always appeared to be like us – the audience with no real rock star mentality, except they wrote these little gems of songs, and chose these covers that drew from the punk ideal of ‘the most unlikely’ songs. But most of all, we go to watch Cud because it’s fun.
And, some 32 years after i first saw them, it’s fun again tonight in a sold out Leadmill, albeit the small room (god dammit, put them on in the main room next time). They laugh and joke, and William bounces up and down throughout, and you remember how good these songs are and what poultry chart positions they reached, and that little sense of injustice hangs over you. But not for long.
New (and really good) single Switched on gets an airing, as does ‘Showbiz’ album track, the funk filled ‘I reek of chic’ – I still kick myself at missing the full album gigs from a couple of years ago, so I’ve still never heard `Sticks and Stones’ live (I don’t think, anyway) but its the ‘hits’ that provoke the excitement – Hey! Wire, Robinson Crusoe, Magic, Purple Love Balloon and of course Rich and Strange all make us jump and dance and swoon, while biggest reaction of the night comes for Only (a prawn in Whitby).
And we all have the things we still want from them – the never to appear covers, Lola and You Sexy Thing most of us have written off, but I’d be a happy man if I could just jump around to Art! once more, while much of debut album When in Rome, Kill Me has much left to mine as well. Which always pulls us back that next tour
So we all leave happy, and shaking hands with people we know who are there. See you next time we all say to eachother, and sons and daughters are starting to appear now, along with the odd new recruit, so things continue to look bright for Cud.