She's not a fan of late nights or most concerts, but when I saw "The South" (a large remnant of "The Beautiful South") were playing at our local venue, I asked, as I often do, if she fancied coming along and expected her to say no, but to my surprise she was very enthusiastic.
'The South' are fronted by original vocalist (and former Housemartins drummer!), Dave Hemingway, and Alison Wheeler, who's been in the band since 2003 (when it was still "The Beautiful South") as the female-vocal in the band.
There are plenty of other members of the band who were there in the "Beautiful" days, but the band isn't all about nostalgia as they've released an album, "Sweet Refrains", of original material recently and very good it is too.
They started out with a track from that album, "Stick It In and Turn It", which certainly set a positive tone and got the fairly crowded (albeit tiny) venue (more than once Alison commented she'd never been THAT close to an audience before) straight into the mood.
A couple of lesser know songs followed and then the massive hit, "A Little Time" which I thought was better than the single release as Wheeler's voice is less scratchy (in my opinion) than Jacqui Abbott's on that track (which appears to have been a conscious thing on her part, to be fair)/
'Pigeonhole' was a stand out amongst the newer tracks, but the tempo and buzz didn't flag all evening, getting better as things went along, if anything.
Crowd favourites like "Old Red Eyes Is Back", "Song for Whoever", "One Last Love Song" and "Rotterdam" were mixed in with less well known tracks like "We Are Each Other" and "I Think the Answer's Yes", but all were well performed and enthusiastically received.
The original set ended with "Don't Marry Her" and "Perfect 10", much to Mandy's delight.
They vanished for a few moments and returned to give us 3 more songs, ending with "You Keep It All In" and "Good As Gold".
You often wonder if a band missing a key member or two will be a bit of a pale shadow, but "The South" certainly deliver the goods and, most of all, know how to put on a show that entertains and engages an audience.
It was a bit of a masterclass in a 'feel good' gig and I'd happily spend a night with them again anytime!
So much so, in fact, that I'll go as far as to say I think you should, too!
Stick It In And Turn It
From Under The Covers
This Will Be Our Year
A Little Time
Old Red Eyes Is Back
I Think The Answers Yes
Song For Whoever
We Are Each Other
One Last Love Song
Dream A Little Dream(Papa's Culture cover)
Pretenders To The Throne
Don't Marry Her
Woman In The Wall
You Keep It All In
Good As Gold
Finally a word on the support act, "Steel Threads". It's usually a thankless task being a Support Act, but they were engaging and entertaining (asking the audience for requests of covers as well as doing their own material). Laura is a great fiddle player (although I'll concede I've not spent a lot of time listening to fiddling) and also a lovely singer. Their cover of The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army" being excellent (I heard the lyrics for the first time!), but they were very good value all round!