Red Shakes, Blue Orchid Reaction and Paid By Cash Live at Northern Quarter June 2022

It’s been a tortured journey; while I’ve written a number of single and EP reviews, trying to catch Bradford based Red Shakes live has been a hotchpotch of being double booked, falling ill, and having to sooth a friend after a relationship bust up. Finally on my fourth attempt, I managed to catch Sam and his band aka Red Shakes perform live at Huddersfield Northern Quarter. Shame then, I got rather too drunk by the end of the night (dear reader, I have no excuse beyond my brain occasionally and randomly being hell bent on having too much of a good time). A shame given that even without alcohol the evening would have been a stellar occasion.

First up on stage was up and coming Skipton band Paid By Cash. The band seemed quite reserved off stage this evening, but they definitely came alive for a set that was heavy with songs from the new EP, Static Ideas, which is coming out later on this week.

There was much to enjoy and absorb within the dark and mysterious folds of Paid By Cash’s music. Not quite shoe gaze, not quite post punk, not quite goth, not quite new wave, there’s a relaxed but surprisingly hard sound, with very solid music skills evident. As my review of the band’s debut single Sirens In The Sea explained: “there aren’t too many songs which somehow feels both tight and loose, and a blend of safe and edgy all at the same time. It’s like looking at the rip tides in the sea on a sunny day”. I also got that delicious state of mashed up edginess in the live set.

Paid By Cash are only going to get even better from here, just 2 songs released on Spotify so far, already busy carving their own identity into the wood of the stage floor, and most definitely a strong quartet to follow for the future.

Paid By Cash have their next outing at the lovely Oporto Bar in Leeds on 23 June. Tempted much.

It’s probably my advanced age but Blue Orchid Reaction have one of those names I always find myself checking. Blue Oyster Reaction, Blue Orchid Revival and combinations of all these have found their way into my brain. While I may suffer from “brand amnesia”, that’s not to say the sound of this ballsy, rootsy, bluesy band doesn’t stand out.

There was a lot to admire in Blue Orchid Reaction’s full set, with the different vocals from the band members on different songs lending quite a different sound to the songs given an airing tonight.

Again, Blue Orchid Reaction are a band I’ve previously had to miss a few opportunities to hear, and I was pleased to make the connection this time. There’s a lot of thought gone into each of the Blue Orchid Reaction tracks and the band have been performing round and about for long enough to have a strong and nicely diverse set. The recent single, Personal Revolution is a great example of the Blue Orchid Reaction sound, a strong rhythm, a catchy hook, and a blistering smattering of guitar.

If you ever pondered whether it would be worth catching Blue Orchid Reaction live, let me assure you, this band truly rock, and the set was well recieved. Lovely guys too.

Red Shakes founder Sam Da Silva is a born entertainer. Before I sidled up to Sam to introduce myself, I stalked a while in the venue in my invisible shield of being just another old bar drunk (you can’t say I was anything but a very good method actor on this particular evening). I can report back that Sam was just out to be relaxed, pleasant and keen to make sure everyone was having a good time. All that effort and beer to uncover a juicy story was for naught. From what I could see, Sam is as exactly as pleasant and fun as his Red Shakes persona might suggest.

So Red Shakes’ set was a tasty and bouncy run through of his singles, which got the audience on the dance floor, and this old drunk man’s legs a-swaying. No mean feat these days. Sam also undertook a lively and well recieved Frans Ferdinand cover (ha, I’ll let you guess which).

Call it an impact of the enforced solitary confinement that we mere plebs submitted to, but I do apparently gain an impression of how tall someone I’ve only seen on line is. So my parting insight to Sam was not to hold an insightful discussion about his music or his inspirations, but about how much taller he was (probably 6′ 2″) than I’d imagined. And that’s the type of killer question instinct, which is just another reason why I’m not snapped up by one of the movers and shakers in the biz as an ace music reviewer. Hahaha, sorry Sam.

To close the set, Red Shakes gave a spirited version of his latest single Sad Teenager Song (Okay). Red Shakes is just 100% fun, bounce and entertainment. Just what we need to close a top night.

Sam and the band are playing next at Liverpool’s Jacaranda on 18 June and will also be making an appearance at the Record Junkee stage at the Sheffield Tramlines fringe. I’m already busy planning that weekend – Tramlines fringe is always amazing.

Chris R

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