For many the Space and Republica double header tour is all about nostalgia.
It’s an opportunity to relive the good times from the late nineties by a certain type of music fan that worshipped at the altar of top of the pops.
And of course that’s fine, but within minutes of Republica taking to the stage it became very obvious that no one had sent the band the memo outlining that they were to do a by the numbers set.
Instead here they were storming out of the gates and sounding as hungry as any band of young guns looking to make a name for themselves.
It’s probably a bit of a surprise to some that the pop element of the bands sound is left sitting in the backseat while the punk attitude is put firmly up front and given the steering wheel, and it must feel like a slap in the face.
The equivalent of being shook hard while the band shouts in their faces that they need to wake up and smell the coffee.
It’s pretty exhilarating to be honest.
If the intent of the band was to blow apart all the preconceived ideas that some may have held then they do it in fine style.
The hits are played, but it doesn’t sound like they do them to pacify anyone, but purely because there’s still plenty of fuel in the materials tanks and they deserve to be set loose to burn off some energy.
A common problem for bands that are looking to make a return into the spotlight is that fans are very rarely appreciative of their current endeavours and just want the hits of yesteryear to be played.
So when they try and introduce anything circa now the set can grind horribly to a halt, but Republica effortlessly managed to slip in songs from last years ‘Christiana Obey EP’ with no noticeable blip in the energy flowing back and forth between them and the crowd.
Not many bands can do that, and it’s to their credit that they make it appear an easy task to carry out.
It was all a bit of a revelation for me as I was there to see Space, but next time Republica come to town I’m there, and I doubt I will be the only one.
Space are less of a nostalgic blast from the past as they never really made an effort to fit into a specific era, and instead just existed in their own little bubble of sound, a sound that isn’t in or out of fashion, that doesn’t sound dated or even fresh for that matter, it just is.
Space are simply just Space, and it’s good to see them back.
It’s also very obvious from the reaction of the sold out crowd that I am not alone in feeling that the balance of the universe is now restored with the bands return.
With drive-in adverts playing on what looked to be a large white sheet draped onto the back of Tuts wall, and a countdown involved that gave us all a minute by minute update on when they were due to appear, the excitement was ramped up a bit and then when they did step up onto the stage it was to a heroes welcome.
Before a note had been struck the band had already won a sizable portion of the crowd over.
And then it got better, and better and better.
For portions of the show it was like singalongaspace as everyone roared out the words to the familiar material and gamely made the effort to mouth along to the songs from Attack of the Mutant 50ft Kebab.
There was a bit of skanking, but that may have just been me, but who cares as it was a sort of a let it all hang out night by that point anyway.
Tommy getting down into the face of the crowd to have them display their own vocal talents on Female of the Species was enthusiastically received to the extent that when the band decided to do an encore they did it all again.
A mate, Gerry Corr, was suitably impressive as he sang out the refrain, and while I am very pleased that he managed the grab the opportunity my chance of being picked up by a random music scout was cruelly dashed when Tommy offered me the mic and a drunken fella leaned in over my shoulder to ask if he could get the red wig from the stage.
Cue Tommy buggering off and my chance was gone.
My dream of being plucked from obscurity was stamped into the dusts and I was left with the understanding that after the show I would have to return to me everyday life.
Then again I’m a shit singer so crushed fantasies aside I picked myself up and got back into it all.
You know those gigs that you just want to go on for ever and ever?
This was one of them.
I’m still buzzing, and as first nights of a tour goes, I think Space can consider that the bar has been set high.
So bring on the rest of the tour, a decent level of sales of the album, another album and another tour and another album and another tour ad infinitum.
Photo by Amanda Robinson