Wunderhorse Live review Rough Trade East by Ryan Beardsley

Around December every year, I flick through the assembled Top 10 Albums of the Year lists with increasing trepidation as I struggle to fish out any diamonds in the rough that have slipped by me in my ‘don’t listen to the radio’, ‘don’t have Spotify’ old age. 

This is how I stumbled across Cub by Wunderhorse. Frankly, I’d never heard of  him but after a quick Google, a bell did ring for Dead Pretties, a blink and you’ll-miss it fixture on the London Punk scene some 8 or so years ago, formerly fronted by Jacob Slater, now known as Wunderhorse.

This brings us to Rough Trade in East London and a sold out show for an artist whose image, sound and demeanour have been through a radical transition over the last few years, from Punk to Surfer with a bit of Troubled Troubadour slung in. 

Embarking on stage looking relaxed and bursting into what feels like an impromptu prog rock jam session, it’s clear Slater and the band are here to have some fun and play around a little, opening with early single Poppy but its second track Butterflies which gets the crowd going. A beautiful little ode to lost innocence with subtly darker lyrics, juxtaposed with a delicate vocal performance. One of the best album openers of 2022 for sure.

We get a live debut for Purple, a huge crowd pleaser and probably the most radio friendly track on the record, seriously if Sam Fender is picking up no1’s for his output, why not this? A great sing-along chorus leaves the young crowd delighted and reflects that songs like this wil soon be right at home in bigger venues across the country.

On the home straight we get Girl Behind The Class, another melancholy parable with a delightful falsetto chorus that Slater more than translates from record to live performance, showing the full range of his talents.

Then it’s Leader of The Pack to finish (sadly not a cover of the Shangri-Las 60s classic) another track ripe for radio which can only make me wonder why more people aren’t talking about this record.

So on the whole, I loved the record and it really translates live and it’s a real treat to see it in this smaller venue, but its clear Wunderhorse is destined for bigger things, there’s so much potential here that the sky really is the limit, let’s see what they do with album number 2. But for now, get yourself to one of his shows on the forthcoming tour before the band are playing even bigger venues.

You can find all tour dates and tickets here 

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