A memorable gig for a worthwhile cause, tonight the legendary Night and Day plays host to apocalyptic sprautrockers Cabbage, alongside Thomas Haywood and Afghan Sand Gang in order to raise funds for the family of Liam Smith, who earlier this year lost his battle to mental health, unfortunately leaving his family with an extortionate bill for repatriation and funeral costs.
The aim of the night? To raise the remaining costs Liam’s family were left with. Regardless of the outcome, tonight not only helped Liam’s family, but also put into the spotlight a key issue which is only now just starting to resonate in the public consciousness: Male mental health. Male suicide rates are three times that of women and is currently the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 in England and Wales – a cause that certainly warrants a platform.
Musically, the night is a refreshing and heartfelt occasion that shows a more vulnerable side to the typical Manucnian swagger of the bands on offer. A solo set from The Blinders frontman Thomas Haywood finds him, armed only with an acoustic guitar, running through a mix of Blinders classics, unreleased songs and covers. What perhaps is most noticeable, was the apparent strength of his vocals, which are sometimes overlooked when playing with the whole band. The clear highlight however, comes in the form of a rendition of Bob Dylan’s ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’ – a brave yet emotive choice that sparks a unanimously supportive reaction.
Second up was Mossley’s own Afghan Sand Gang. Less well known in comparison to the other two acts, they hold an unmistakably fresh sound that combines the indie punk style of The Blinders with hints of electronica, shoegaze and psych. Though not yet as established as the other acts on the bill, their inclusion is no less salient, enhancing the evening’s proceedings perfectly.
Finally headliners Cabbage take to the stage to a backing of Abba’s ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’. Minutes in, frontman Joe Martin flings off his top, going on to command the crowd for the entirety of their two hours of stage time. Powering through a set of politically charged tracks on which they’ve made their name, they combine this with some unusual cover choices; most notably Nancy Sinatra’s classic ‘These Boots Were Made for Walking’, which closes out the night to a riotous response.
While it goes without saying that each band that performed this evening were on the very top of their game, that shouldn’t overshadow the fact that Cabbage have held an amazing tribute for a worthwhile cause, helping Liam’s family, and breaking down the stigma surrounding male mental health in the process.