Dodgy + Skewwhiff @ The Cube, Malvern 19th May 2023
The Cube is a great space…
Consequently, we had a fine multi-dimensional night at The Cube! Greeted warmly at the doors we were shown to the main room by a gracious volunteer. The impressive main room could be summed up in two words – sold out – and all the more impressive as a result.
Local indie-adults Skewwhiff were the foundation for the night in more ways than one. Well known locally, with a “carrier bag” of their own songs to proffer, the band delivered a determined 40 minutes. Respect to the drummer who dispensed, mid-set, with his T-shirt in acknowledgement of the rising heat. Unsurprisingly, their brand of kicking-out-time-post -punk-rock inspired the largely partisan crowd to gravitate to the edge of the stage in readiness…
The coronation of raised glasses, mobile phones, inaudible cheers and far from defiant fists that celebrated Dodgy as they made their out of the darkness was nothing if not impressive. Par lights lit up the faces of an expectant crowd and the expressions reflected a true Friday night feeling. The lighting technician must have been busy on the night as the punctuation of light and darkness throughout the gig was both theatrical and entrancing.
Using the 1996 album Free Peace Sweet as a backdrop for their tour of stadiums the night was billed as a warm-up gig. If this is a warm-up then they certainly have not left their best fight in the gym, to talk in boxing parlance: tight, disciplined and committed.
Nigel Clark the lead singer is a comfortable front-man and affable MC. In a Room was greeted like an old friend and like old friends the passing of time with no contact is unimportant. The reflective One of these Rivers, with the Coen-esque intro, inspired a moment of quiet solemnity – with accompanying lighters being held aloft. The sense of an indoor festival was pervasive. Dodgy do have a profound political message to impart. Considering the album was written in the mid-90s the track U.K.R.I.P. still resonated on the night. Sadly. On stage Dodgy don’t have to throw any rock shapes as the songs themselves added a pleasing symmetry.
Pleasingly, the incongruous mirrored sphere, suspended from the ceiling, continued spinning and symbolising the party mood.
The triangulation of a band at the top of their game, a venue which knows how to put on a good night and a convincingly sold-out gig produced a warm-up gig that is best captured in Clark’s own words: “This is the best warm-up gig ever!” Before declaring – “This is like an old school gig!” – to all in attendance in the hall. And it was…
The festival feel was compounded by the encore being rounded off with the band’s signature: “Staying out for the Summer”. If ever a song captured a band’s ethos this must be the song.
They might be Dodgy by name, they are certainly not dodgy in character but they are most definitely Dodgy by design.
By: Swilgate Scuttler
Photography by: Steve Fothergill
Ps For Lofty, as time with Lofty is never wasted.