Friday night saw the latest in a series of special fundraisers being held for Greg Gilbert, the frontman of the Southampton based band the Delays. The father-of-two Greg has been diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer which has spread to his lungs. The family have been told that there is very little that can be done for him on the NHS so they are seeking to raise funds to send Greg overseas to undergo urgent treatment which is not available to him on the NHS.
The special show saw the Delays recruit their friends the Mystery Jets and Band of Skulls as well as local band The Diamond Age, Sam Duckworth of Get Cape, Wear Cape Fly fame and the great Thomas Tantrum who have reformed for a one off performance. Stepping in for Greg on the night to provide vocals for the Delays was Simone Marie Butler, perhaps best known to readers as the bassist for Primal Scream and presenter on SoHo Radio.
Frustratingly due to my own tardiness and faffing I just missed the Diamond Age. I first became aware of the band last month after a tip off from Strong Island Recordings’ Brad Sked. I love what they have been doing so I will have to make it a priority to see them play live soon.
I’d never been to the 1865 before, it’s located in Brunswick Square, Southampton, a three minute walk from the bars and restaurants of Oxford Street. I was impressed with the layout of the venue as it seems that wherever you stood you had a good view of the stage. There was even a mezzanine level which was a nice spot to view everything going on.
Second on the bill was Sam Duckworth. The singer-songwriter is best known to me for his 2006 debut album, The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager. In 2011 Sam released The Mannequin in his own name but it wasn’t until 2014 where he dropped the Get Cape name and decided to record under his own name. It was his earlier tracks that he performed such as ‘Call Me Ismael’ which I enjoyed the most.
The whole night was a bit of a throwback to my college days and early 20’s. The DJ played some classics which included the likes of The Bees, Bloc Party, Hot Hot Heat, The Futureheads and one of my favourite tracks of all time, Modest Mouse’s ‘Float On‘. It is almost like the DJ went back in time and stole my iPod.
Following Sam were Blaine Harrison and Will Rees from the Mystery Jets. The pair played an intimate acoustic set which featured some of their most popular tracks ‘Something Purer’, the catchy ‘Two Doors Down’ and a rendition of their duet with Laura Marling ‘Young Love’.
Thomas Tantrum is a band who I must confess I didn’t know very much about prior to this show but I was told to expect a band are just as fresh and current now as they were when they released their self-titled debut album in 2008. Original members Megan Thomas, Dave Brown, David Miatt and Jim Shivers reformed for a one off special performance and after enjoying what I heard on stage I am going to explore their MySpace page which is still going strong.
The last of the support acts were Band of Skulls, who like Mystery Jets were playing a stripped back acoustic set, much like the one they performed at Castle Road Day in 2016. Following a live band is never easy but they succeed as only Band of Skulls could.
Compere for the evening was Eddie Temple Morris, as he was introducing the night’s headliners he explained that after watching thousands of bands play live over the years the Delays performance at Glastonbury was one of the rare occasions when a live performance has brought a tear to his eye. He explained that “It was the most perfect show that I’ve ever seen, they were so perfect in every way, and when they stopped playing I cried so much because I just didn’t want that moment to end.”
It was time for the main attraction to take to the stage. Aaron, Colin, Rowly and guest vocalist Simone Marie entered to a rapturous welcome by the crowd and they went straight into playing some of the band’s most famous tracks.
The Delays debut album Faded Seaside Glamour is one of the most beloved albums of my early 20’s and hearing tracks like ‘Long Time Coming’ live again transported right back and it felt bloody fantastic! It is with great sadness that Greg wasn’t able to join everyone on stage but in a nice touch Greg and Aaron’s father was able to join them for a cameo on guitar. In another sweet moment, Greg’s wife Stacey joined the band on stage to send a video to her husband so he could witness the outpouring of love from the crowd.
The Give4Greg fundraiser is moving towards its target of the £250,000 required for Greg’s treatment. There is still a way to go and every penny counts! With other events in the pipeline please continue to support the worthy cause. You can still donate via the fundraising page www.gofundme.com/give4greg.