prawns in Whitby? the return of Cud
prawns in Whitby? the return of Cud

King Tut’s Glasgow
3rd June 2

prawns in Whitby? the return of Cud

Once touted as being one of the bands that would follow the Stone Roses to the indie big time indie eccentrics Cud make a return after years away…

Last night I took my daughter to see Cud. It was not the first time I’ve taken a poor unsuspecting young woman along to a Cud gig with no real explanation as to what the band are like ”“ other than saying “I think you’ll enjoy it.” The last occasion had been in October 1987 at the Sir George Robey pub in London. I was staying with my friend, Emma. She seemed concerned that the previous night’s hurricane might prevent us from getting home after the gig. I pointed out that the actual attendance of the gig was the important part of the evening, not the getting home again afterwards.

Cud swaggered onto the stage and I knew from the expressions on their faces that it was going to be good. They burst into Purple Love Balloon with energy, enthusiasm and a healthy dose of sarcasm you don’t often see at gigs these days. It took all of about three seconds for the stressed out band of mums and dads attending to forget about how much the babysitter was going to cost and start dancing like it was 1992 all over again.

The musicianship was superb: edgy beats, clever guitar riffs, funky bass channelling an array of disparate influences from funk to punk and classic jangly 80s indie to the experimental excesses of Captain Beefheart and back again. The set list covered many of the old favourites. Only A Prawn in Whitby stood out for me. It is a brilliant impassioned indie song that screams from the heart, although as the song says “It’s only flesh and blood you know, Stamping, threshing, thrashing, pumping blood you know.”

Robinson Crusoe, Magic, Rich and Strange and I’ve Had It With Blondes kept us all dancing and smiling throughout. At one point, there was a slight technical hitch between songs. While this was going on, Carl Puttnam asked if anyone had any questions. “What’s with the cock shirt?” shouted the woman next to me. He looked a bit non-plussed, then realised that he was not being called a cock and explained that he had thought the shirt had chickens and eggs on it. “We call those cocks.” The woman shouted back. Carl acknowledged that he is a man who does not recognise a cock when he sees one. Perhaps that is part of the esoteric nature of his personality which enables him to take such a surreal and unique approach to song-writing. Who knows? We, the listeners are the ones who benefit and long may that continue.

I looked over to Trina, to see her grinning broadly and dancing along with the crowd of people all old enough to be her parents. Many bands from the late eighties and early nineties are reaching a younger fanbase and achieving recognition from a wider audience than they originally had. I hope this will happen to Cud. They’d be magnificent at festivals.

My daughter, Trina, also wrote a complimentary review:

Vivienne spent the afternoon watching gritty youtube videos of Cud playing in the 80s, back when vinyl roamed the earth and I (along with digital anything) was too busy not being alive yet to join her at their first gigs. In the spirit of contrast, I determinedly drowned this out with The Cribs new work, so I could meander into King Tut’s at half eight with my ignorance intact.
I have, I am sure, heard Cud before. The way I’ve heard a lot of bands fired out one after the other on Radio 6. This did not stop me from expecting something vaguely reggae, for reasons that elude my own logic. I was, of course, incorrect, but not remotely disappointed.
“You’ll all leave satisfied.” Carl Puttnam (or ”Ëœthe singer’, as my fellow plebs would call him) crooned the promise into the microphone, possibly winking under his sunglasses, and he was not wrong. The musicianship was exquisite and the setlist a dream, but it was the stage presence that put smiles on the small yet determined audience’s faces. The whole crowd danced so much you couldn’t notice the sparseness, and everyone bar me seemed to know the lyrics. It was so homey I almost kicked my shoes off.
This is what I love about bands like Cud, which so many modern bands are missing: they’re not trying to be sexy – or worse, Ian Curtis/Led Zepplin/The Libertines (pick your idol) ”“ they’re trying to be fun. Maybe this is why I was the youngest person there by 10 years (let’s be kind here) ”“ I can imagine the reaction that their appearance alone would inspire from my younger sister: “They look like dads!” She’d sneer.
“But they are dads.” I’d retort. “What’s wrong with that?”
I only wish our dad could look that cool in leather trousers, though.

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  1. This is a fantastic piece, thank you :)
    For those of us unable to be at the ‘toughest venue in the country’ (Stu Hennigan, Leeds Librarian), the writing conveys completely the spirit of the King Tut’s gig and of the whole tour so far, thank you; fun, funk and happiness :)
    What a brilliant idea to take your daughter, Trina, and I’m glad she enjoyed the gig :)
    Trina, you’re a marvel :) I love your review and it is great to think that music appreciation is in such safe hands, thank you :)
    Jane was sweaty plenty :)
    Newcastle Hoult’s Yard gig was awesome, too, thank you, Cud :) Cud guitairst, Mike, had three generations of his family, there, including nephews, one a budding drummer. Did you enjoy it, I asked :) Yes ! as the wide eyes sparkled back with pleasure :)
    Rock and roll children, take a bow :)
    For the rest of the tour to date, plenty of appreciation, photos and video on, for example, Cud Facebook.
    Thank you, again,

  2. David your daughter is very perceptive I love it when someone else gets it – great review – I’m not surprised at all knowing what a joyous and fun experience Cud are live. The shirt thing is classic Carl – what does go on inside his head but whatever it is I’m glad it does

  3. Hi,
    I’m Carl’s brother and smiled like a cheshire cat whilst reading these comments.
    we, myself, girlfriend, mum, step dad and friend, 2 of which are CUD virgins are off to see them tonight at the Water Rats Kings Cross.
    will write the virgins reactions later tonight if not too pi##ed.
    Alistair…. after 43yrs of being his brother… I still do not know what goes on inside his head…. but what goes on stage is pure magic.
    Glad Trina liked the gig….. next time take some friends


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