When St Mary in the Castle was completed in 1828 I doubt that Thomas Pelham, the man behind the development, envisaged anything taking place in his wonderful building beyond church services and choral music.
This was backed up last night when John Power, lead singer with Cast, mentioned that he felt he should be kneeling in prayer. He also went on to say what a great building St Mary in the Castle was, no arguments there, and that it compared very favourably to “some of the shit holes we’ve played on this tour”. Praise indeed.
But that original purpose for the building does mean that when an Indie Rock band comes to the venue, the sound quality isn’t quite as good as maybe you’d like it to be. This is hardly surprising, and certainly no fault of the band, or the sound engineers, who did a sterling job turning a church with a huge domed ceiling into a Rock venue.
Cast certainly gave their all, played very well, and put on a great show, taking us through all of their hits and helpfully reminding us just how many of them there actually were. Having been a fan of the band, back in those heady BritPop days of the 1990’s, even I was surprised at how many of the bands songs I recognised.
An early rendition of ‘Finetime’ helped get the audience in the mood. Not that they needed it, the sizable crowd seemed to be ‘up’ for a good time and were happily singing and dancing along to all those hit songs from the word go.
A fair sprinkling of newer material, some from a forthcoming release, were also given an outing, blending well with and complementing those older numbers.
For the second time this week I saw a band finish their set with an epic song. Cast did this by featuring some very effective fretboard guitar work from Liam Dyson and then exiting the stage one by one, leaving drummer Keith O’Neill to bring the set to a close.
An encore of three songs, ending with a the singalong classic, ‘Alright’, send everyone home happy and feeling..... alright, I guess.
As the satisfied audience started to stream out of church, the PA played ‘Bring me Sunshine’, sung by Morecambe and Wise. A nice touch.
“What do you think of it so far?” Very good actually.
PS: A quick mention of local support band, Bosco Rogers.
They certainly tried their best to bring the crowd a selection of their “Flower Punk” offerings, even drafting in Rob Leake on saxophone for the occasion. But they were hampered, even more so than Cast, by the sound which meant that the intricacies of their music was rather lost, as nothing could be heard very clearly.
In defence of the sound man, Bosco Rogers being a seven piece band, including two keyboard players, meant that their music was even harder to mix properly. This led to the overall effect of their songs being diminished, which was a real pity.
For more info about St Mary in the Castle go to: stmaryinthecastle.co.uk
Cast can be found at: casttour.com
Photo by: oldtownpaul.com