Ned’s Atomic Dustbin + CUD + Republica @ O2 Academy, Birmingham – Saturday 23rd November 2013


Review & photos by Rich Ward

Since their comeback a few years ago, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin have put on a handful of events which have celebrated the indie rock scene from the late eighties/early nineties. Their current get together, billed as ‘Nedstock’, sees them playing with contemporaneous bands Republica and CUD across three UK dates.


A Saturday gig at the O2 Academy was a bit of a blessing as it made it easier to get there for the early start policy the venue employs, and I’m glad I did. Being only familiar with a couple of their songs from back in the day, Republica made a suitable impression with their techno tinged punk rock. In a striking outfit and with selective lighting, all attention is focused on singer Saffron. The familiar hits of ‘Ready To Go’ and ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ elicit the biggest audience response. Meanwhile new song ‘Christiana Obey’ proves that they still have plenty more to offer.


CUD, however, are a band that I am completely unfamiliar with, and probably with good reason. I’d also imagine that they are a band that are quite divisive amongst tonights audience. Certainly, there were enough T-shirts in the audience to show support, and they received a good enough reception. Aside from a nice drum set up and solid groove throughout from the bass, there was very little that made their set a memorable one. The long term CUD fans in the audience will doubtless disagree.

Ned's Atomic Dustbin
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

Tonight, though, was always going to be the Ned’s night. This is an exercise in pure nostalgia. No new songs here – just a set filled from end to end with their best loved classics.

From the start of opener ‘Suave & Sophisticated’ the band plunder the very best gems from their three albums, and also a number of the non LP favourites such as ‘Trust’ and ‘Wirey’. Beer is thrown and there’s even a spot of crowd surfing as the Academy mass reconnect with their youth, turning back the clock to 1991. The Ned’s have always been that little bit different making them stand out, and that goes beyond the obvious twin bass guitar assault. Their songs were infectious, and as tonight proves, many of them also timeless.

Ned's Atomic Dustbin
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

Bassist Matt Cheslin leads the chaos on stage – a whirling dervish of seemingly endless energy as he leaps and bounds around the stage from start to finish. Singer Jonn Penney puts in a similar amount of energy and seems to be relishing playing what is almost a hometown gig. He is also keen to point out that this is the full original line up, or ‘five fifths of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin’ as he puts it.

Throughout the set there are many highlights. From a personal point, ‘Until You Find Out’ and ‘Grey Cell Green’ make the evening. Meanwhile an excellent version of ‘Stuck’ has made me pull out the lesser listened to BrainBloodVolume album to listen to as I type up the review.

If the Neds choose to write new material, it will be welcome. If they don’t, and continue playing these occasional gigs of such calibre then there’s likely to be very few complaints. Proper job would sum up the night, but more appropriately sticking with local dialect; Bostin night!

1. Suave & Sophisticated
2. All I Ask Of Myself…
3. Not Sleeping Around
4. Trust
5. Until You Find Out
6. Walking Through Syrup
7. Less Than Useful
8. Happy
9. Stuck
10. Traffic
11. Legoland
12. Cut Up
13. Leg End
14. Wirey
15. Grey Cell Green
16. Intact

17. You Don’t Want To Do That
18. Kill Your Television
19. Selfish


See more of Rich’s photos here;