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Now no disrespect to the fair city of Hull, it has been European Capital of culture after all, but it isn’t the first place I would choose to go dashing off to on a Friday night after a long week at work. No time for tea and an hour’s drive, drooling more and more with every McDonalds restaurant we passed dashing to get there in time. This did make it all the more frustrating when for some inexplicable reason the doors tonight opened almost an hour later than advertised and it was around 9pm when we eventually let in, damn and blast those big macs would have tasted good.

No matter, we’d have to settle for a liquid dinner and after a quick trip to the bar we took our places for the opening act, Tom Speight: Tom is a busy man at the moment, he had just got back from performing shows in Brazil, whilst also finding time to appear on Radio 2 with Graham Norton (and finding out today that one of his tracks has been added to the official radio 2 playlist), not to mention about to embark on a headline tour of his own to launch his new album, ‘Collide’ Tom’s journey to Hull would seem to have been even more eventful than ours and I have no idea how many McDonalds he would have passed and if he managed to resist temptation to stop off at any of them.

Opening with ‘Waiting’ his impressive vocals immediately grabbing the attention of the compact and tightly packed venue. His music I suppose is very typically radio 2, that’s no disrespect as its often my station of choice but if offers thoughtful, meaningful songs that can be a powerful tool in the hands of such an impressive vocalist. Armed with an acoustic guitar and wonderfully accompanied by an enigmatic backing singer who was no mean bass player either we soon forgot about the long wait to get in. ‘Little Love’ album title track ‘Collide’ and the play listed ‘Heartshaker’ carried us through an opening set of real quality. Tom showed how to work a crowd and for ‘Joni’ took center stage in the middle of the audience to offer a really intimate section of the nights proceedings that really left you wanting more. Closing with ‘Willow Tree’ and ‘Strangers Now’ I am sure most of us were left waiting for the new album and tour with the same anticipation.

So after a quick recharging of the glasses it was onto the main course with Clean Cut Kid, now I must confess, we are fans and this would be the 3rd time we had seen them since they took a year off to write new material and boy have they come back with bang. Celebrating the release of new album ‘Painwave’ the new material is very much from the heart and the title reflects the journey that these tracks have come from. It’s easy to get lost and downbeat when hearing songs written about struggles with depression and even the death of the old friends but in some ways they also offer relief that these things are only stepping stones on the journey of life and as such we can also celebrate life, and celebrate we did. Delivered with passion, emotion and real quality we powered through an hour long set that flashed by in what felt like an instant. The only real concern was an early health and safety assessment to make sure Mike Halls wasn’t about to suffer a concussion from his energetic pogoing too close to an exposed steel beam above the stage. Mike isn’t the tallest of gents and his pogoing antics were soon passed clear for take-off. New songs ‘Emily’ ‘Jason’ had the crowd dancing and singing along ‘Slow Progress’ carried on that good work and I was reliably informed it hadn’t been hastily written about the experiences gaining access to tonight gig and of course old favorites ‘We used to be in Love’ and ‘Vitamin C’ kept the energy high and the atmosphere bouncing along.

As a band Clean Cut Kid are great value, they give you a piece of their soul every time they take to the stage and leave nothing out, engaging, fun, entertaining and some bloody great tunes mean you are pretty much guaranteed a great time every time they perform live. This tour is hopefully the beginning of a busy 2019 for CCK and if the new music is anything to go by it will be a pretty successful one. If you get the chance to see them then take our advice and do it. You won’t regret it.






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