July 16, 2024

Rain Parade – Live in Leeds 2024 – “playing and growing”

Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 15th June 2024

I was glad that I stood stage right. The sound might have been better balanced further back, but I could hear the onstage monitors for John Thoman’s guitar and Steven Roback’s bass. Thoman’s McGuinn-isms, controlled feedback and vintage pedal effects were a pleasure and Roback’s melodic work on the higher parts of the bass brought that slightly different feel to the band. It is worth going to hear older musicians because, whilst this band may have split up 30 years ago and reformed 10 years back, people playing at that intensity will have kept on playing and growing.

The style in playing tonight is the entertainment, especially for those of us who managed to miss the Paisley Underground. I was 20 when this band’s first album came out, keen on listening to new music and yet, somehow Rain Parade, Dream Syndicate, etc passed me by and only Green On Red and The Bangles registered (and The Bangles only through the hits). It’s nice to catch up now, four decades on and good to hear the new material is, if anything, stronger than the old material and not only have they a new album out but they’ve put an EP out on top of that.

It’s a small-ish crowd and the band are relaxed. Their jangly Byrds-influenced sound has drawn a well-behaved Teenage Fanclub-adjacent crowd. Five-strong, there are up to three guitars at any given time and a full, melodic feel. “Your weather is upsetting this old lady”, says Matt Piucci of his guitar, “we don’t like modern instruments”. It’s a vintage sound but not derivative. They aren’t shy of comparisons though and the encore sees Piucci dropping in a little musical quote from ‘Eight Miles High’.

It’s a journey through the years, with tracks drawn from their trio of eighties albums and their new one, mixed and juxtaposed. Introducing ‘Look What She Done To Your Mind’, Steven says “I think this was our first single”. Matt adds “if you don’t know, no-one does”. Nicely, they follow it with their most recent single, which doesn’t jar at all, forming a musical continuum for a band that have been reformed for longer than they were together the first time round. A relaxed evening, with much excellent musicianship, Rain Parade may have won a few converts this evening.

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