Oldham four-piece Cupids (and Gramotones in their previous form), have been one of Manchester’s most talked about bands in the past few years. A night at Jimmy’s in the Northern Quarter to celebrate the release of their debut single last month had seemingly fueled them to attract a big crowd in one of the city’s most popular venues, Night & Day Cafe. With the best yet to come, it came as a shock that on Monday they announced it was the end for Cupids, stating that the gig at Night & Day would be their last as a band. It soon became apparent that the news hadn’t reached the ears of all their fans.
Young guns Lyerr opened proceedings, and fronted with a retro Borussia Dortmund shirt, their opening riffs punched their way around a crowd that’d arrived early. Second song, ‘Not Going Out’ is particularly explosive, it’s their latest release and it’s bound to propel them around Manchester and beyond. There’s a couple of merch t-shirts spotted amongst this crowd, too, they seem popular lads and this will stand them in good stead.
Following that, Joshua Goddard appears, welcomed on by an instrumental interlude led by trumpets and bass guitar, it takes a few sound tweaks but once in full flow sets a brilliant vibe. ‘Make It Up To You’ is the first song, and the blues and soul sounds coming from the stage resonate around the room, it’s hard to believe that this is Joshua and the band’s first live performance together. The band are The Soul Revue, and they complement each other brilliantly, no more than in ‘Sunday Sun’, Goddard’s debut release which casts likenesses to James Morrison vocally but opens up a whole new dimension with the band in on the act. The set has done Joshua Goddard far from harm, the crowd was big and maybe daunting but amongst them will be new fans; he has one in me.
And then the third installment of another Mancunian hat-trick arrived, and the atmosphere becomes bizarre. First song ‘No One Talks About That’ continues as per, but then guitarist Jake Fletcher says, “we don’t really know what we’re doing tonight, so we’re just gonna see how it goes.” It feels like a careless statement, until vocalist Sid Cooper interrupts with: “Oh, if you don’t know we’re splitting up.” To some that is confirmation, and to those out of the Facebook loop, it is.
That’s that then. Instead of listening to this band with a thought on how they can develop and catch the attention of a wider audience, they put the brakes on. Jake discusses Take That, and how The Eagles split up every tour and get back together. The crowd are hardly rapturous in their reception to it. It’s meant to feel satirical, but it feels like the crowd would rather an all guns blazing celebration of Cupids and The Gramotones.
‘Good Things Come (To Those Who Wait)’ is Cupids latest, and last single. It features amongst Gramotones tunes, they’re most popular with the crowd. But the Gramotones are long gone, they became “Manchester’s most exciting musical transformation” (according to Viva in 2015), and I wouldn’t have disagreed by any means.
The set concludes after a “goodnight”, before the band come back on stage for an encore. Sid gathers some words of thanks, which are the highlight of the set, there’s a huge amount of people that have helped these guys over the past five years, whatever name they went by. It’s just an awful shame it came to a conclusion so abruptly, and with lots more for Cupids to give. Here’s hoping that Jake’s solo career carries that potential. He’ll take with him some of the band’s following, which as is often the case at this level may be their best asset. The loyal crowd give the band a rapturous reception as they leave the stage for the final time.