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"Just Be Cud To Me" - Leeds Colliseum

Sounds, Sep 1990

The omens looked good. With a healthy home crowd and an untroubled set by support band The Popinjays, this was, barring an unmitigated disaster, set to be something special.

With a sense of expectancy hanging deliciously in the air, the room swathed in dry-ice and Cud's Carl Putnam resplendet in silk shirt and shades, suddenly everything went horribly wrong. The normaly animate "Hey Boots" carried little of it's usual sparkle; "Brain On A Slow Train" merely hinted at it's subtle dance mechanics while "Love Mandarin" limped weakly by, barely a shadow of its recorded self. Quite simple, Cud were face with one of the worst sound systems ever chanced upon. Carl's muscular vocals crumbled in a chamber of inaudibility. William's bass and Steve's drums thudded anonymously and Mike Dunphy's guitar had all the grace and power of an ill-defined glockenspiel.

To confound the situation further the band themselves seemed entirel oblivious to the problems surrounding them. A changed mic, prior to "Heart", enabled a marginal vocal improvement, but treating the symptoms instead of finding a cure was never really going to have much effect.

To their enormous credit, though, it was possible, with immense concentration, to battle throughthe aurul atrocity to find much to admire in Cud's performance. Drawing almost entirely from the "Leggy Mambo" LP, their set has now adopted a greater maturity, abandoning their eccentric quirks to focus on a more danceable, intelligent groove. "Robinson Crusoe" may be the current favourite but "Magic" is their finest effort to date, swirling seductively and hypnoticaally even in these most uncompromising of circumstances.. If it's a career move Cud are looking for, they could do a whole lot worse than releasing "Magic" as the next single.

"Not Exactly DLERC" provided the evening's first encore, a song whose steamroller rhythm ought to have triggered the mass stage invasion for which Cud audiences are so renowned. A strong security presenceput paid to that little caper but the greater pity was that whilkst Cud were probably quite brilliant tonight, the PA and the person responsible for twiddling the appropriate knobs never really allowed us to tell.

Ian Cheek