DeeExpus set sail for Cambridge

Although I was at the listening party for DeeExpus‘ debut CD “Half Way Home” and I wrote the first review here I hadn’t seen the band play (unless you count a drunken Sunday afternoon stunt at The Crown in Crook!) so I was very pleased when I got an invite to this exclusive gig at The Ship Inn, Middlestone Village last night.

The band were running through their set prior to their gig at Cambridge Rock Festival next weekend and were introducing their new drummer Henry Rogers too. When I arrived there were many familiar faces and even more arrived as the crowd expanded to maybe 30 or 40 invited guests. The band had taken over one end of the upstairs room as a stage – this room is used for folk clubs, buskers nights and so on.

As I found an early seat, I noticed on the table that there were DeeExpus commemorative beermats – made from plastic rather than the usual stuff that goes soggy after a few pints are spilled on them – a nice souvenir of the event.

I later found out that the upstairs bar had 2 special DeeExpus real ales too – PT Tipple and One Ale – these seemed to be going down well with the assembled throng.

Around 8 o’clock, vocalist Tony Wright took the stage to make a brief announcement about the evening’s proceedings. First up was the showing of the “Extras” section of the recent DVD release “Far From Home” – as I don’t have a copy of the DVD yet I hadn’t seen this before so it was quite interesting, amusing and informative too. (And I noticed a couple of shots of me at the CD Launch which showed me just how much weight I have lost!)

After this section of the DVD finished, the band took the stage and the invited guests squashed together in the small room so as not to miss a thing.

As you can see from the setlist, 5 of the 8 songs were from the CD “Half Way Home”, with a Porcupine Tree cover which didn’t sound out of place – and a debut performance for a new song “Me & My Downfall”.

So, what to say? Well, there’s only one word – AWESOME. The sound, the playing by everybody, Tony’s vocals, the vocal harmonies particularly impressed me, the songs of course (including new track “Me & My Downfall” which bodes well for the second album), young Henry on drums playing a blinder and grinning from ear to ear at times; all of these things and more came together in that special way to make this one of those gigs that I’ll be proud to say I attended. I was sorry that I hadn’t seen DeeExpus before, but in the next few years when DeeExpus are big across the world (they’ve already been to Poland, of course and they play in the US next May) those of us who were at The Ship Inn will be able to look back with a warm glow and say “I remember when …”