13 November 2016 at The Garage, London
A friend of mine reckons the name The Trashcan Sinatras sounds like they should be a punk band. He was somewhat surprised when I told him that they are in fact a Scottish indie band who deliver some of the most beautiful melodies and lyrics I’ve ever heard. I sent him off with a flea in his ear and told him to listen to some tracks, but that’s another story.
This year saw the release of the Pledge Music funded album Wild Pendulum which was the Trashcans sixth studio offering following In The Music back in 2009. It’s been a while coming and as I tweet about the band quite a lot I get responses which usually include “they were really good back in the day. What happened to them?”. So I explain about the new album and tell them how good it is. And it’s very good. In fact, I need to do a review of it at some point.
Anyway. So off the back of the new album I was really excited when a few tour dates in the UK were announced. London was one of the locations listed so tickets were bought and as I’d never been lucky enough to see them live before, I was really excited for the gig. It came round pretty quickly and before I knew it I was off to London (again) to meet up with some old friends for the evening.
The Garage (which is just across the road from Highbury and Islington tube station) holds somewhere in the region of 600 people in the downstairs main room. On a Sunday night in November we stood amongst probably just over half the capacity which I didn’t really understand if I’m honest and it left me feeling a bit sad. The support act was a lady called Bella Spinks who reminded me of Kate Bush for some reason as she sat behind a keyboard and played us a short set of her songs. It was very enjoyable and I looked over to my right as she was playing to see Frank Reader stood a few feet away from me with a drink in his hand. People were asking for photos with him and if I’d had the balls I would’ve done so myself, but I left him to enjoy his pint.
As Bella left the stage the crowd swooped forwards and took to the barrier in readiness of the main event. My little group decided to stick to leaning against a rather battered (but quite comfortable) padded section behind the mixing desk. We could see all of the stage and also the engineers rather bouffant hair which is incidentally in one of my photos. Finally, a little later than planned the magic happened and the Trashcans took to the stage ready to let us all into their wonderful world.
Starting with Best Days On Earth and continuing with Ain’t That Something we were treated throughout the evening to lots of tracks from the new album. There were also plenty of old faithfuls aswell starting with the beautiful All The Dark Horses. The assembled fans knew we were in for an evening of something truly special.
Frank freely admitted that he is one for ‘patter’ and proclaimed that he ‘just talks shite’ which isn’t actually true, but there wasn’t a great deal of banter between the songs. It didn’t matter though and as he told us a quip about getting older it was nice to see that this is a band who are just comfortable with being on stage and sharing their craft. We didn’t need anything fancy to go along with it, we just wanted to hear the songs we have grown up with and love unreservedly.
Iceberg went into Autumn (which is the current single) before Freetime made an appearance. This was then followed by The Genius I Was which ironically took three attempts to start! It was worth the wait though and next up was Easy Read. The crowd cheered when the opening to Hayfever started and I watched a collection of hands go up in the air while some serious swaying was going on. It was a lovely thing to watch.
I’ve heard that the setlist is a thing of beauty as it features not only old and new songs, but a change of tempo as we work our way through which is no mean feat to put together. To showcase just that, Got Carried Away is followed by Let Me Inside (Or Let Me Out) before slowing down again for The Family Way. As the chords strike up and Frank sings “Once Upon A Sign” we all join in with Only Tongue Can Tell before another track from the new album is played. I’m particularly fond of What’s Inside The Box? so was very pleased that it was shared with us to sing along to. A couple more oldies are offered up with Send For Henny and Weightlifting taking their place on the setlist.
The band are joined on stage for the next song by a young man with a trumpet who upped the tempo again by joining in with All Night and getting us seriously tapping our feet. He did a sterling job and stayed around for I’ve Seen Everything before taking a well deserved bow and leaving the stage. People was next before probably the track everyone was waiting for, the song that started it all, Obscurity Knocks. We all belted out the words, jumped around and loved every second of it until it ended the set. The band took a quick reprieve before returning to the stage while we all shouted for more. The encore featured my other most favourite song, the marvellous How Can I Apply? before the final song of the night The Safecracker. And then it was all over. The band took their bows to massive applause and promised that they would come back again.
We filed out of the main room into the cold of the night a bunch of happy, middle aged folks who had just been privileged enough to witness a band who deserve to be so much more than they are. The performance was a bit clunky at times, but it wasn’t intended to be a showstopping evening. We were there to see a group of lads play tracks which have been in our lives for the best part of over twenty years. I certainly wasn’t disappointed in any way apart from the fact that it was over way too soon for my liking. I’m not sure why it wasn’t a sell out, but I for one am very glad I made the long and eventful journey down to London on a Sunday to stand and sing along with the other fans of one of the best bands I’ve ever seen.