Reuben + Ghost Of A Thousand + Baddies @ Birmingham Academy 2 – 1st April 2008


It seems like a lifetime since I went to a gig at Academy 2 and I was surprised to find the floor wasn’t somehow sticky. I walked in part way through Baddies set with the room reasonably full. They sound like a slightly louder and less friendly version of The Young Knives and, with their matching blue shirts, look like The Hives if they went to prison. There are a few dancing throughout the set but their best song tonight is easily ‘Battleships’, it’s catchy and a bit of a crowd pleaser.


I have to admit that I was most looking forward to seeing The Ghost of a Thousand tonight. Listening to them on CD is like listening to the soundtrack to a knife fight, but for some reason it just doesn’t feel the same live. I don’t think it’s in any way to do with their performance or efforts, but the music doesn’t surround you in the same way. Nevertheless they are every bit energetic and entertaining. Singer Tom Lacey even offers £10 to anyone returning his shoe if it were to come off amongst the crowd — surely the cunning out there would steal it just to give it back and pocket the tenner?

The crowd seem to love every bit of their set, with circle pits breaking out for most of the songs. They finish up with ‘Black Art Number One’, whipping the crowd into a frenzy once more. I’d like to see these boys at the Wulfrun or somewhere a little bigger, and most definitely louder.

I had a strange feeling about tonight but I couldn’t put my finger on it until I saw a big circle of people sitting down in the centre of the room in between the bands. It was like one of the smaller stages at a festival — with an age range spanning 16—40, sporting a mix of band merch and the frontmen from each band talking to the crowd an unusual amount.


When Reuben take the stage singer Jamie has some kind of duct tape mask on, but what the purpose of it is I haven’t a clue. The room suddenly fills up when they start to play and while there’s not as much crowd movement as when The Ghost of a Thousand were on, most are singing along with every word. I get the impression there’s not really anybody here who came along just to see what Reuben would be like — most are avid fans.

Jamie’s not only a good singer but also a good frontman; he seems to have an anecdote or witty quip for every break in between songs. About halfway through the set he recalls supporting Sum 41 here and gets the crowd to re-enact the night by chanting “shit, shit, shit…”

Most of their songs go down equally well the audience but I think their 2004 single ‘Freddy Kreuger’ had the most voices echoing round the room. Overall I thought it was a good performance by a band that obviously has a lot of experience on the road.

Review – Ash Carter
Photos – Lucy Pryor

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