Transport back to around 1996. What were you doing? What music were you into? My older sister and I were heavily into the all consuming Britpop and Indie scene. She was Blur. I was Oasis. We both loved Shed Seven . My favourite band was The Bluetones. My sister loved SPACE. I liked Space, but at the time I wanted heartfelt lyrics full of spite, regret and a sprinkling of passion that the likes of Shed Seven and The Bluetones offered up to my late teens and early 20s. Space seemed a bit of a novelty band, for want of a better word. They were fun.
The biggest shock of my life happened in 2013 when my sister passed away suddenly at the age of just 39. For me, she lives on in the music she loved, so when the opportunity rose to see Space in my home town at the beginning of this month, it’s fair to say I grabbed it with both hands. If any of you have read my reviews before, you’ll know that I don’t just hear the music, I feel it too. I connect with it, I watch the audience and notice their reactions.
After an amazing set from local support act Skewwhiff, who I’ll review separately , because, quite frankly they deserve it, the tension built as did the crowd.
As my gig buddy disappeared down at the front of the stage armed with camera, I side stepped my way into the bosom of the crowd. At the age of 42, I still can’t walk into a pub on my own, but throw me into the middle of a gig, my inhibitions go, and I lose myself to the vibe. I go to my happy place.
A good gig takes me away from the humdrum of everyday life, and my sister’s love of Space made me certain this gig would not only do that, but also transport me into an alternative universe too.
The band took to the stage to a whacky voice over, and Tommy Scott approached the microphone to go straight into “Money”, and the audience pulsed around me as the whole room got up and danced. Second song was dedicated to all the “Weird and Wonderful” people in the room, a new song I believe to go by the same name as the dedication, well received by all in the crowd.
Only two songs in and Tommy was already declaring us as a “Boss Audience” in his lovable scouse accent, and thanking us for being kind.
“Begin Again” was next up, a firey Italian themed ballad about the man who would kill for love. Despite the song being over 20 years old, it’s passion was still felt by the fans who clearly adored the original. Also, despite also being over 20 years older , front man Tommy still kept up the energy on stage that we expected. Dropping to his knees, reaching out, an eccentric character for sure.
Next up, another new song, Face Don’t Fit, with a shout out to all the outsiders who feel they don’t fit in. This song is going to be a sure fire hit amongst the fans, with lyrics that most of us relate to, a cheeky chant that “it don’t mean shit if your face don’t fit”.
Dark Clouds and Avenging Angels brought us back to the familiar much loved hits, By now, Tommy had shed his leather jacket as the crowd warmed up to sing and dance and relive their youth. A lady next to me, who decided it would be a good idea to pour her pint down my arm, was clearly well inebriated, yet, despite being picked up from the floor at least three times, still knew every word to the classics. Proof if needed that music keeps the memories alive, deep in the back of your mind.
Tommy took to the Mic to introduce the next song, after thanking the audience yet again and saying we were very kind :- “this song is about when I was a kid, it’s about me and me brother, me brother always had big muscles and was like Steve Austin, and he loved himself. and I’m the same skinny mother f@”!&r I was then.”
The song was called The Dysfunctional brother of Action Man and lived up to the introduction with an hilarious catchy tune.
A young girl called Stacey was called to the stage to join Tommy and the band with an uncanny rendition of The Ballad of Tom Jones, by far the biggest crowd pleaser of the evening so far. Vocally Stacey filled the shoes of Cerys Matthews perfectly, and the performance of the song by her and Tommy was visually entertaining and suitably funny. Just Brilliant.
Hypnotism and Mr Psycho “blew the crowd away”, as the latter song suggests, before another new face came on stage. This time, 20 year old Jordan joined Space to rap on new track Pterodactyl. The song claimed the prehistoric bird would swoop down, but we were all swooped up in excitement of being treated to a new, but recognisable sound from this underrated band.
We Gotta Get Out of This Place and Antidote came before the most well known Space song ever, grabbed our ears. “Female of the Species” has been a TV theme song and appeared in adverts, and I’m certain if you’ve never heard of Space, you would’ve heard of this. The music was intoxicating, we were being put under a spell.
Tommy lept off the stage and entered the crowd , climbing on tables and offering up the Mic to members of the crazy crowd, as the funky Latin inspired song played out to the venue. At one point I was busy filming and the screen went black, when I moved my phone away, Tommy was singing to me. A moment to remember.
Drop Dead lead us into Neighbourhood which encouraged mayhem from the crowd, I was being pushed from behind, but I didn’t care. In fact there was a lot of careless bouncing and jumping, to what seemed to be the last song of the night.
After a short minute off the stage, the band were back with Charlie M, and closed the show with the iconic Me and You Versus The World, and as the catchy chorus rang through, the audience swelled nearer the stage, jumping in time, filled with memories, nostalgia and no doubt alcohol.
The band were pure entertainment, musically and visually, they had the crowd hooked from the get go, right up to last second, leaving us buzzing and not quite believing what we had just witnessed.
After the gig, I saw an opportunity to meet the charismatic front guy. Waiting patiently as he posed for a selfie with a male fan, he turned and saw me waiting and put his arm around my shoulders. My awkward self couldn’t get the phone to take a photo, and when it did, it was dark, but good enough. After Tommy declared he looked “better in the dark”, he gave me a huge kiss on the cheek and thanked me for attending.
Jo, you were right all along, Space are awesome! And I’ll save the kiss for you when we meet again.
Photos Lissywitch Photos