Review by Jack Foley
A GOOD support act is the icing on the cake of any good gig and when South
headlined the ICA on Thursday, March 13, 2003, that is exactly what
Sitting huddled together at the front of the tiny ICA stage, The Cornerstones delivered a totally enthralling acoustic set, one which succeeded in capturing the attention of the small but dedicated band of South followers from encouraging start to glorious finish.
Formed in London in 2002, and formerly known as Fourth Volume, this musically-tight five-piece (occasionally stretching to six) delivered a fine collection of songs, none of which I had heard before, but all of which wanted to make me hear more.
Built on a touch of the old school, with rock solid foundations, The Cornerstones liken themselves to Crowded House, Neil Young and Van Morrison, but with a unique edge, and it is a description which was evident for all to see at the intimate London venue.
Vocally, the similarities between lead singer, Richard Ruth, and Crowded House's Neil Finn are very striking, at times, while the band's music compares favourably as well, evoking memories of the New Zealander's in their heyday, while also managing to sound fresh and exciting to boot. Tracks such as Special Place, especially, are prime examples of this, displaying the type of instantly catchy melodies that grab the listeners' attention from the moment you hear them.
And, like South, they demonstrated a wide range of ability, with the lead singer swapping his guitar with the keyboard player at one stage, and several of the remaining guitarists singing along, comfortably, with the choruses. For the record, the remaining members of The Cornerstones are Glenn Perryman, Ben Townshend, Paul Eaton and Dan Bennion.
The songs, too, were well-written, musically-sound numbers, ranging from the excellent Peace of Mind, which featured a blistering mouth organ solo halfway through, to There's A Stream, during which the lead singer also played keyboards. Breathe In/Breathe Out proved to be another huge hit with the crowd, producing some soft verses that came to life in a genuinely catchy chorus.
It is a very rare thing, when going to gigs, that I feel sorry to hear the support act announcing that they are to play their last song. Yet, on this occasion, I did feel a tinge of regret. The track, Something I Gotta Do, provided a suitably rousing finale and enough class to prompt me to recommend people to get along to their next gig, at the Halfmoon in Putney, on Friday, March 21 - details of which can be accessed by clicking here...
It is another Crowded House throwback, tinged with regret, that prompted an enthusiastic round of applause as they left the stage. If there is any justice, these guys will hit the limelight soon, because The Cornerstones bear all the hallmarks of a band that is going places.
Having already supported the likes of Oasis, Shed Seven and Pureessence in the UK, they now seem to be generating a bit of a buzz online (check out the noticeboard section of their website for examples of what people are saying), and possess an endearing (but not too arrogant) confidence in their own ability, which translates well to the crowd.
It would appear that time in their company is time well spent, so catch them early, while they can still play intimate venues.
Picture shows, from left to right: Glenn Perryman, Richard Ruth, Ben Townshend,
Paul Eaton and Dan Bennion.
RELATED STORIES: Click here for a review of South's headline act...
Click here for a round-up of what's on at the Halfmoon in March...
RELATED LINKS: Click here for The Cornerstones' website and to download tracks...