Cody ChesnuTT: Currently on tour around Europe

At the Ruby Lounge, Manchester M4
Cody at the Ruby Lounge
  • I went into this gig totally “blind”. My wife suggested that we go and see Cody as he’s someone she’s really got into over the last few months. Looking at his picture, all I knew was some vague recollection of perhaps seeing him on “Later…with Jools Holland”. But nothing particularly stuck in my mind. I wasn’t sure even what sort of music he did although, judging from the venue and the support I was expecting some kind of bluesy, soulful evening.

So we trekked off up the M6 to the Ruby Lounge in Manchester and found our way to the venue.  Support was provided by “Thabo and the Real Deal”. They were great, although perhaps slightly restricted by being the support act on a small stage, everyone was happily entertained. After a brief break Cody appeared, in his trademark military helmet (badged with a small but distinctive French flag) along side his band. No introduction, no hype and no fanfare. And then I was blown away.

Cody’s music prior to this album has been described as “somewhere between blues, soul and incendiary power-trio rock”. Add to that funk and occasional ventures into Jamiroquai acid jazz and you have a fairly accurate description of his latest offering. In other words, pretty impossible to categorise.

Several things struck me about the set. Firstly, was the huge energy that Cody exudes through his performance. Every note sung is packed with a sense of life that simply draws you in even if his music is not quite your cup of tea.

The second was the continuity. The whole set was non-stop, and I mean, really non-stop. Such was the incredible ability and communication between Cody and his hugely talented band that, if there was a pause for thought, you hardly noticed. That despite the fact that Cody’s guitarist broke at least 2 strings (and possibly three) during the evening. Only, the eagle eyed would have noticed that happened. Somehow, he managed to restring his guitar without any detromental effect on the sound. That combined with Cody’s interesting habit of sung improvisations to introduce each song meant that it was pretty hard to find a point in the gig where things died down a bit.

Landing on a Hundred – Buy Cody ChesnuTT’s new album from iTunes

Thirdly, was the nature and content of the performance. Cody’s songs are full of positivity in a way that you just struggle to find elsewhere. What’s more I’m hard pushed to remember the last significant gig I went to which I could have taken my kids to without fear of some profanity being uttered from the stage. Cody has been quite open about his rediscovered Christian faith for since his last album in 2003. But clearly outworking his faith in the context of getting married and starting a family has taken that

element a step further. Cody even apologised at the end of the performance for not performing any of his old songs saying that it was ten years since his last album and he’d moved on and that the language in them was not appropriate for “where he was at”. For any artist, it’s a brave move, but when the motivation behind it is one of humility rather than ego, it has to be applauded.

Finally, what struck me was just the quality. Just “superb” is the only way I can describe it. Even if this sort of music is not quite you cup of tea, go and see them if you get the chance because the ability of Cody and his band is just on another level.

Cody’s latest album is available from iTunes. Click here to buy it.

Steve Perry

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