Back in 1995 when most people still looked at you with a blank expression on their face when you mentioned music festivals, back when the Reading Festival was still awash with big name acts and dogs on ropes were only just dropping out of the scene, that was the last time that I saw Corduroy. As the sun set over the top of the main stage and that post afternoon lager haze mixed with the smell of freshly cut lawns, the swirling keyboards and rhythm section washed over us. At the time, and I do recall very strongly thinking this, here was the most perfect festival band and festival vibe that you could hope for. So, here I am 24 years later, about to watch the dapper chaps of the Acid Jazz scene. The audience is a heavy mixture of middle-aged men, bespectacled, balding, bearded, and dressed modish and occasionally Peaky Blinder scally capped.
As I settle back with a shandy in the shadows at the back of the room, the band take to the stage; twin brothers on keyboards and drums either side, bookending the guitar and drums. An interesting set up that keeps all the members on equal billing and gives the audience that intimate feel.
Declaring that they have a new album to plug and that they will be entertaining us with tracks from that they proceed to dive straight into the title track from the 1993 album “Corduroy Create High Havoc” and the 60s cinematic groovetastic soundtrack starts. That album gives us four numbers in the set, including the Santana-esque “Something in My Eye”. With Latin rhythms and stabbing lounge music piano vamping, it is the perfect dance comedown to follow the guitar screech and fast paced “E-Type”, which is the perfect song to imagine yourself speeding down leafy country lanes in a Jag in the swinging sixties.
Six tracks from the new album intersperse with older tracks and a triumphant return they prove to be. “Slingbacks Solution” has some stunning drumming on it. Crucially, these new tracks are as strong as the early ones and whilst the band have never really let down, it is good to hear that they are as strong now as they were at their very best.
For me, one of the (many) highlights was the cover of Quincy Jones’ “Money Is” which, having it all, gets a big cheer from the now dancing and very happy audience. It’s an infectious groove and sound that you cannot help but move to.
Their cover of “Motorhead” by Motorhead is a joy that not even the most ardent rocker could fail to warm to. “What’s the time?”, asks Ben Addison, the drumming half of the twins. “What time’s the curfew?” on finding out that it’s not long after 10pm. “We’re not playing for another hour!”, he declares in mock indignation, before they launch into “Electric Soup” from their debut album. A swirling keyboard heavy tune that just makes you want to be rushing around 60s London with a Lulu or Twiggy on your arm in some montage from a Michael Caine film. As the Union Jacked top mini of a tune comes skidding to a halt outside some London mews, the drummer tells us, Ade Edmondson-like, “Right, now fuck off!” before the band gives us an appreciative bow and then bow out.
My advice is to catch them before the end of the tour.
Saturday 6th April, Gloucester, Sunday 7th in Bristol or Friday 12th in Manchester are your best bets.
Something in My Eye
Return of The Fabric Four
Money Is (Quincy Jones cover)
Corduroy Orgasm Club
Reviewer: Mark Veitch