Four Gigs for Cardiacs’ Tim Smith Announced

After the emotional success of May's initial events commemorating the late musician, further gigs will now take place

Following three sold-out gigs in London and Leeds in early May, four more Sing To Tim dates have been announced for this autumn, commemorating and celebrating the songbook of the late Tim Smith of Cardiacs.

Shows in Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Brighton will feature various lineups of friends, family and former members of Cardiacs, as well as Tim Smith’s Spratleys. In advance of these live delights, Cardiacs and Spratleys will also perform a new live session on Marc Riley and Gideon Coe’s BBC Radio 6 Music show, to be broadcast on June 17.

Cardiacs fans were treated to two emotional Sing To Tim gigs at London’s The Garage on May 3 and 4, as well as a further event at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club on May 5, which were described by participating singer Sharron Fortnam as “an outpouring of love”. You can read about them in the most recent Quietus Low Culture Essay here.

The gigs reunited three incarnations of Smith’s bands – The Smith and Drake Ensemble, Spratleys and Cardiacs Family – to celebrate the life of the visionary singer-guitarist, who died in July 2020, and former Cardiacs percussionist Tim Quy, who passed in February 2023. Both Tims had been through long and difficult illnesses and the gigs proved cathartic for all those taking part, on stage and off.

“It was an incredibly intense experience,” Fortnam said, “yet everyone seemed to be flying. Flying and crying and celebrating in a truly healthy and cathartic way. Cardiacs fans showed themselves to be the best anyone could dream of, yet again!”

The shows were masterminded by former Cardiacs guitarist Christian ‘Bic’ Hayes and singer Jo Spratley, the dynamic duo behind 2011’s Leader Of The Starry Skies tribute album to Smith’s work. This covers collection raised funds for Smith’s hospital treatment after a series of heart attacks and strokes in 2008 left him with the rare neurological condition dystonia, rendering him unable to properly move or speak. Contributions came from bands Smith had not only played in but produced and otherwise encouraged into existence, many of whom were present at the gigs.

The talent assembled for the first Sing To Tim Gigs included Lost Crowns’ Rhodri Marsden, Richard Larcombe, Nicola Baigent and Charlie Cawood as the Smith and Drake Ensemble, performing the songs of Mr and Mrs Smith, and Mr Drake and The Sea Nymphs. Jesse Cutts, Adrien Rodes, Stephen Gilchrist and Etienne Rodes joined Jo Spratley as Spratleys. Cardiacs Family comprised Tim’s stalwart brother, bassist Jim, Bic and Jon Poole on guitar – with a guest appearance from axe hero Kavus Torabi. Bob Leith returned to his drumstool, North Sea Radio Orchestra’s Craig Fortnam played percussion, Chloe Herington was on sax, and Adrien Rodes handled keyboards. Sharing vocal duties with Poole, Hayes and Torabi were Fortnam, Spratley, Ultrasound’s Andrew ‘Tiny’ Wood and original Cardiac Arrest drummer, Tim’s schoolfriend Mark Cawthra.

“Who can know what the audience is gonna make of the whole shebang?” Spratley said ahead of those shows. “At this point, we are in their little trusting hands. To hear news of queues going round the block and all – well – that’s just as it should be. Yes. Look at it all. The best of life runs on trust and love. It could never be ever different. And at his best that’s what Tim left us.”

The next set of events will take place at Manchester’s Band On The Wall on October 10, SWG3 in Glasgow on October 11, Newcastle’s The Grove on October 12, and Concorde 2 in Brighton on October 13.

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