Wave Pictures, Portland Arms, Cambridge,17 February 2016

Singer/guitarist B-Sydes (the performing name of Ben Sydes) opened the show playing tracks from his debut long-player ‘Constant Fictions’. On the album (check out the cover artwork?) a full band give more of a variety of aural textures, but with his solo guitar and intense vocals he convincingly expresses some heartfelt emotional lyrics. He has folk influences but the rockier rhythms come through strongly and there was a positive audience reaction.

The Wave Pictures are one of my favourite bands, so I was very pleased to see them here playing again to a sold-out Portland Arms. The core of Dave Tattersall on guitar and vocals, Franic Rozycki on bass and Jonny Helm on drums were augmented with well-judged percussion from guest Dave Beauchamp and they were promoting their newly released vinyl only (no download/CD!) ‘A Season In Hull’, recorded in one day around one microphone…

There were a few of these new songs featured, sounding promising on first hearing but we also had a selection across nearly all of their extensive back catalogue. Their sound is uncluttered, no effects pedals for guitar and bass and Dave Tattersall’s lyrics draw you into a personal world of memories, wry observations, wistful longings and regrets.

All three members have their turn in the spotlight, sliding bass breaks, pounding drum solos and the dynamic yet relaxed guitar lines which anchors it all. They can rock out; ‘Pea Green Coat’ is polite-ish punk, ‘Give Me A Second Chance’ is pleading desperation over rock-solid drums and bass. ‘Cassius Clay’ and ‘Now You Are Pregnant’ are quieter tracks with an extra emotional punch to the lyrics.

And who can resist the tempting delights of ‘Friday Night In Loughborough’??

The band can easily move into cross-cultural rhythmic and dance styles, such as ‘Blink Back A Tear’ and the tour-de-force nostalgia rush of ‘Before This Day’. And much much more.

It was a stunning show, go and see them…



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