It’s 7:30PM, and already there’s a huge crowd gathered in the tiny underground venue that is Club Academy in Manchester. First expected to play the smaller Academy 3 room but upgraded to Club Academy, Reuben, the band that are said to look like tramps but sound like kings, are to play their first show in Manchester this year to promote the release of their new DVD, ‘What Happens In Aldershot Stays In Aldershot’. The low stage with no barrier is going to let this band’s small yet truly dedicated fanbase get as close as possible.
First support band The Red Light Company come to the stage first, with mainly vintage student clothing on their backs, one member with bright red hair, and one wearing incredibly tight jeans that could only just fit a five-year-old, they don’t look like a band Reuben would have as support, but they go down well with the crowd. A four song set that sounds pretty much like the same song over and over again, they’re not on stage long before they skulk back off.
It’s not long before the main support band Sucioperro come to show what they have. As soon as they appear onstage half of the crowd explode and a moshpit forms for the opening song ‘I Don’t Hate It, I Accept It’. Fans shoving each other back and forth while singing words back to the band, giving them a truly warm welcome. On the band’s final song, the frontman puts down his guitar, grabs the microphone and jumps straight into the crowd screaming and shouting the lyrics, but he doesn’t come back out with it. Instead a young fan has stolen the mic and takes to the stage. This show has suddenly turned into an karaoke night. Sucioperro leave and equilibrium is stored into the venue… for now.
Ten minutes pass. The crowd are getting frustrated and impatient. They want what they came here for, they want Reuben. It takes a few minutes of chanting before, out of nowhere, frontman Jamie Lenman takes to the stage, sporting nothing but a hospital gown, underwear, and a novelty helmet. Bassist Jon Pearce and drummer Guy Davi appear very shortly after also wearing novelty helmets, before picking up their instruments and discarding the head gear. The crowd is already going crazy, and the band are yet to play a single note.
Opening song ‘Tonight My Wife Is Your Wife’ begins and the room explodes with pure energy. Almost every lyric is sung straight back to Jamie, ofter overpowering him in volume. Sometimes, he doesn’t even bother to sing and just focuses on playing the guitar, with a smirk upon his face of what he can see in the crowd before him. After the third song in, several fans have had to be taken from the crowd to the side of the stage, with them being pushed into the stage on their legs, crushing them, and causing a great deal of pain. A good few of the fans are limping across the stage to care. Bottles handed out every two songs to stop the crowd out there dropping like flies.
As the set goes on more and more people are being rescued, and more and more bottles of water are being sent out. The band talks and rants to the audience with topics involving food poison, broken backs, rocking in Basra, and the TV series ’24’. Upon the closing song ‘Stuck In My Throat’ several fans jump onto the stage and bounce back onto the audience crowdsurfing. Jamie sticks “STOP FUCKING CROWD SURFING!” into the song lyrics, clearly not happy with the unsafe nature of the act. The song finishes, the band leaves, the gig is over. What happened that night was something special, and more than likely a sign of things to come.
This tour could be the ending of an era, the era where Reuben are confined to small underground venues.
Written by Zach Redrup