Live at Cockpit on Friday, 22nd June 2012
So Cud are back, or are they?
On the strength of this evening's performance they are, well at least for now. This gig was the last date of a short tour taking in the major towns and cities in the UK, a homecoming of sorts for this most enigmatic of arty Leeds bands.
Kicking off proceedings with 'Purple Love Balloon' immediately sets the tone for tonight with my uninitiated gig buddy stating 'it's gonna kick off innit?' Not far wrong as it happens as the crowd start braying and swaying to Cud's white boy funk filtered through hazy art school gauze.
The band sound tight, with original drummer Steve Goodwin ('drummer from Cud' copyright NME circa '91) absent but most ably depped for by 'Gogs' from Leeds band Whole Sky Monitor. His economical and sharp playing keeping time on such crowd pleasers as 'Eau Water', 'Rich and Strange' and 'Strange kind of love'.
Singer Carl Puttnam has never been one for the chat, with cursory 'thank yous..' and little in-between song banter. But his voice is fantastic, bellowing out tunes across the boisterous crowd like a wounded water buffalo in the last dying throes attempting to get to the watering hole for a last swift one. Hair vaguely still intact, but with a Victorian moustache and paisley shirt offsetting any accusations of being rounder than the past. Hey we've all got older, give the guy a break.
Midway through the set the band and crowd start ramping things up, the majority of the crowd being now made up of thirty and forty somethings reliving Cuds early gigs and the first taste of crowd surfing pissed on snakebite. Sweaty, stomping and probably risking a mild coronary we bounce and sing along to every word, even if they make little sense to us. Revisiting old tunes such as 'Only a Prawn in Whitby', Vocally Speaking' and 'Robinson Crusoe' is just too much for some and a stage invasion starts, a common occurrence at Cud gigs. The stage crew and security initially look a little alarmed and after a vain attempt to gain control they eventually comprehend it's not worth it and allow us onstage to whoop and holler like bleeding teenagers... brilliant, thank you.
No one harasses the band mind and the gig just gets better. William Potter the perennially cheerful bassist, band archivist and celebrator bobs and weaves as he has done since the early days. Newly returned original guitarist Mike Dunphy plays wonderfully, teasing out those strange chords and sharp hooks with panache and fervour. Never one to knowingly look happy, I detected a degree of joy from beneath his furrowed brow. Although he may not admit that I'm sure.
Songs from the distant past rubbed shoulders with newer tunes from the major label days, punters placed arms around each other and remembered why Cud are so special. Back in the day the music press were continually baffled by them and thus they were ridiculed. But the people are where it's at and Cud fans are loyal, not necessarily trustworthy, but loyal.
Several encores later the roof is dripping, band clothes are changed and my favourite tune 'Push and Shove' brings it all down to a sweaty heaving end. I have to sit outside gasping for air like a displaced goldfish at this point owing to mild concern that I am dying... what a way to go.
Cud are back? I bloody hope so.