One of the joys of living in any city is discovering new places that you never new existed. I’ve lived in Cambridge all my life, on and off, but had never been to the Union Society until Thursday night. It’s quite hard to find, tucked away behind the Round Church, but once you do find it, it’s a splendid old bar steeped in university history, with a function room along the side. If promoters like Green Mind continue to put on gigs at the Union Society, it will become a welcome addition to the Cambridge scene, filling the gap between the smaller pub venues like the Portland and the Man on the Moon, and the larger Juntion.
However, holding gigs around christian festivals may prove contraversial with some of the Union Society’s neighbours – apparently there were complaints from the nearby Round Church, where they were trying to celebrate Maundy Thursday while the Beverley Kills were raucously rocking out on stage. The sound engineer was asked to turn the volume down and there were rumours that the police had been called. Fortunately there were no arrests and the BKs continued mainly uninterrupted.
Like the Union Society, the Beverley Kills are a hidden local gem, they look great, they sound great and they punctuate their thrashy songs with glorious harmonies. Expect to see more of them after a short break – they’re next playing at the Portland Arms on 5th May.
I didn’t see the second act on the bill, Vanilla Pod, because I was busy chatting in the bar. Sorry.
Snuff, however, were unmissable. Ever since their legendary album Flibbiddydibbiddydob, Snuff have been chugging away somewhere in the background of the soundtrack to my life, but until Thursday I’d never seen them live. At the Union Society, Snuff were everything you’d hope they would be – loud, shambolic, pogoable and funny. One of the few punk bands to feature a trombone, they were obviously enjoying themselves, the quick-fire songs gradually emerging out of the onstage chaos and banter. Infact Snuff must be one of the few bands who’s pre-song chat is longer than the songs themselves. But they rattled through the highlights of their back catalogue, including their own songs such as Caught in Session as well as some of their covers, like Soul Limbo (the cricket theme tune).
So all in all, a great night out and I’m looking forward to the next visit to the Union Society, to see Allo Darlin on 20th April with the Stagger crew.