Cast, Afflecks Palace, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London, March 15 2024

It's some six years since Cast last released an album and in latest release, 'Love Is The Call', they've once again hit their purple patch and the creative juices are truly flowing.

Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall / MindHex Media 

A slice of the old mixed with a slice of the new. A Friday night in London with one of the greatest guitar pop bands of the 1990s supported by a band whose roots clearly lie in the Madchester scene of the same era but whose second album, 2023’s ‘The Only Light In This Tunnel Is The Oncoming Train’ sounds so fresh that it’s bringing a whole new crowd to the sound that defined an era. 

It’s some six years since Cast last released an album and in latest release, ‘Love Is The Call’, they’ve once again hit their purple patch and the creative juices are truly flowing. As such, by the time Afflecks Palace took to the stage, there was a large, willing and eager crowd, ready to embrace something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. 

Afflecks Palace

Formed in Manchester in summer 2019, Afflecks Palace are a 4-piece psyche guitar band described as “The birth of Nu-Madchester” by online curation platform Manchester Lemon. The group take influence from The Stone Roses, Kurt Vile, The Smiths, The Las and The Durutti Column and it shows. Whilst the music is fresh and exciting it take pleasure in drawing from the sounds that made the city stand out in the 90s. 

Their name, if it seems familiar, derives from a cultural hub of the Madchester scene, an indoor market with multiple floors that house everything from vintage clothes stores to tattoo parlors to street food stands and more. The equivalent would have been the now closed and sadly missed Camden Market.

As the band rattled through their energised set, Leeds-born vocalist and producer J. Fender, drew our attention to the fact that artists should do more to stop the venues they play from taking a cut of the merch proceeds. With anything from 10% to 30% in extreme cases, Fender made the offer to anyone in the crowd that wanted a CD, could simply come and meet them and grab one free of charge. “I’d rather give them to you than hand over a cut of the proceeds”. I hope people support them online instead. 

Peter Darling on bass and Peter Redshaw on drums alongside guitarist Dan Stapleton make up the rest of the band and the four piece with songs like the immense ‘Forever Young’ and ‘This City Is Burning Alive’, the latter being my highlight of their set, definitely warrant your attention in the ‘something new’ space. 

The ‘something borrowed’ of the evening came courtesy of a cover of ‘Waterfall’, The Stone Roses classic. That it sits so neatly inside the band’s own songs simply reaffirms the vibe and feel of their music. If Afflecks Palace are at the forefront of the ‘Nu-Madchester’ sound that people are talking about then we are on the verge of seeing an explosion of music that should rightly bother the charts again for all the right reasons. 

Check out the Spotify playlist below and be amazed. 

  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London

Cast 

Look at that set-list. How can it fail? ‘Something old’, all the boxes ticked courtesy of Cast’s biggest hits. ‘Something new’, yep Cast have that covered as well with the majority of tracks on latest album ‘Love Is The Call’, their first in six years, making the set-list. It shows real faith in your material when you can test drive so many songs with the crowd and yet the majority went down a storm, feeling like we were reconnecting with long lost friends. 

After both ‘Fine Time’ and ‘Sandstorm’ got the ball rolling, our ‘Something blue’ came along with the beautiful, albeit short ‘Bluebird’ from the new album. The title track followed immediately afterwards along with ‘Love You Like I Do’ and ‘The Rain That Falls’, proving beyond doubt that John Powers’ song writing skills haven’t diminished one iota. That they sat so perfectly alongside ‘Flying’ which is almost 30 years old proves that there’s a real desire for some real guitar driven music once again.

It’s a thought not lost on Power at all who takes the time to discuss how albums no longer have the time to build and grow and creep up the charts thanks to singles and radio play. There used to be a way of doing things he mused, but now these albums have life breathed into them by the fan-base. The success of the latest release is “all down to you” acknowledges Power. Cue a chorus of cheers from the packed crowd, all of whom have clearly been listening to the new material as the majority were singing along to the newer songs as if they’d been in the set-list for years. 

Of course the biggest sing along came courtesy of ‘Walkaway’, as moving now as it was in 1995 and a song that truly feels like it will never date. A beautiful piece and one of those occurrences when you simply forget about everything else going on in the world and just live in the moment. 

The encore, containing ‘History’ allowed Liam “Skin” Tyson to remind us just what he can do on a guitar. Squeezing some of the most amazing sounds out of his gold sparkling Fender with the sort of hammering that would make Eddie Van Halen sit up and take notice, Tyson’s playing feels like an extension of his very soul. Mesmerizing. 

They closed unsurprisingly with ‘Alright’, one of those tunes that should be stored in a library for all time for people to understand what the ‘perfect pop song’ sounds like. With 2,000+ people singing in unison, there was definitely no better way to end the night. 

If you miss the band on their own tour, they’re out again as main support to Liam Gallagher in June. Details here: https://www.liamgallagher.com/

  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London
  • 2024 03 15, Cast, O2 Forum, Kentish Town, London

SETLIST: 

Sandstorm
Fine Time
Bluebird
Love Is The Call
Love You Like I Do
The Rain That Falls
Flying
Guiding Star
I’m So Lonely
First Smile Ever
Faraway
Starry Eyes
Live the Dream
Tomorrow Call My Name
Walkaway
Free Me
Encore:
Tell it Like it Is
History
Alright

 

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