The Venue, Derby
21 November 2012
Nineties indie rock band Cable called it a day way back in 1999 but the fan’s desire for the band to return has not diminished over time. When they announced they’d be reforming for three dates with Hundred Reasons and Hell is for Heroes there was only one question on Derby’s mind: would there be a home town gig? Sarah Lay reports as they make a triumphant return.
There are some bands that find a place in your heart during the heady days of youth and become so embedded with who you are, who you want to be, that no matter what happens you never really let them go.
Cable called time in 1999 but the mourning for their passing has never really gone away. Time has not diminished the hope that fans have held that one day the band would return.
In the years since the split the band have gone on to other musical projects and when they have spoken it’s been made a clear a reformation was not on the cards. Of course it didn’t stop us hoping or halt the perpetual rumour that they’d get back together.
Then here we are, this is the night we’d been hoping for.
The venue is full of faces familiar to me from years on the edges of Derby’s music scene. Everyone greets each other with hugs, handshakes and smiles. We’re like kids on the night before Christmas, excitement is in the air, Cable are about to play again.
And when they do it is visceral, ferocious and while we may have all gathered here with memories in mind this is very much of the moment.
They kick off with Song 1 and Blindman and it’s almost as if they’ve never been away, sounding as relevant and vital today as they did to our teenage ears way back when. The sound is shonky but we sing every word. Time has not wearied band or audience.
We get plenty off first album Down-Lift the Uptrodden (produced by LTW boss John Robb don’t you know) and Peel-favoured debut single Sale of the Century. When Animals Attack is also represented well with the mid-point of the set pivoting around their most mainstream hit Freeze the Atlantic. It still soars and crashes, Fugazi-esque sounds with the My Bloody Valentine nod. It’s beautiful in a feral, why-aren’t-they-still-together way. While they’re still on stage the yearning for this band to be real in the here and now has already returned.
Tracks from last album Sub-Lingual get a look in too and this re-ignites the curiosity about what we could have got if the split hadn’t come. There was a sense of changing direction with this album, of tantalising evolution.
What else do we get? Well, God Gave Me Gravity, Honolulu and Vertigo before instruments are put down and the band leave the small stage to a rapturous crowd, not quite yet satiated.
There is an encore and the final close comes with the aural onslaught of Oubliette. They could have played on all night and we would have still called for more.
So was this the long-delayed victory parade and a chance to say goodbye or a tentative step back to see if they’re still wanted? I suspect it was the former but there’s a part of my heart that burns with a fervent hope for the latter.
If they returned, would Cable still be relevant? God. Yes.
Of course, I have to acknowledge that there is home town pride coming into play here. There’s not many bands that have made it from Derby. Not many that have united the local scene so consistently as Cable. Not many that have been the inspiration for so many next generation groups both in and beyond the city. So yes, I admit it, that pride in them coming from the same streets has a place here.
But it’s more than that. I really think that this band had potential they didn’t get the chance to fulfill. I, and I don’t think I’m alone here, would be more than happy to see them take up the challenge again (in a recent interview for Derby arts blog Hatch’d they said new material wasn’t being ruled out).
For now though last night has left me happy.
Resurrections can be messy but this one was just magical, not perfect just perfectly right. It’s ensured that Cable will continue to be revered in hushed tones and that the ghost of these melodies will continue to evoke a deep longing for more.
Cable will play three dates with Hundred Reasons and Hell is for Heroes. They’re all sold out but if you can get your hands on a ticket (through legitimate means obviously), we highly recommend you catch them:
- 22 November – The Coronet, London
- 23 November – Academy 1, Manchester
- 24 November – HMV Forum, London