CHERRY SUEDE and STEWART MAC - State Of The Union Tour Special Acoustic Set at the Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham - 11.05.18




Nestled in the high street of Kings Heath is a small, rustic and beautifully atmospheric live music venue called the Kitchen Garden Café. Garden centre by day, music venue by night, the small and intimate venue boasts a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all who walk through the heavy oak door into the quaint little place, and tonight is no exception. Pushing open the door I am instantly accosted by a Canadian man who shakes my hand, introducing himself as Randy who begins searching around for my press pass. With their merch guy ill the two Randy’s (Young and Scott) from Cherry Suede search about for a lanyard for my pass while chatting about the tour, making jokes and making me feel part of the Cherry Suede Brigade (the Facebook fan group name). The banter is light and breezy and I’m instantly drawn to the warmth that these guys have with their fans and fellow musicians.


STEWART MAC makes an appearance and we talk for a little while by the merch stand before he heads into the other room with Dean Roberts and their set begins for the evening. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and microphone each, smiles and jokes aplenty, the two band mates emanate a warmth and friendliness that spreads amongst those in the room.


‘Moments Like These’ kicks off their set, Stewart Mac has some seriously captivating vocals, his soothing tone is delightful, highlighted by the beautiful harmonies that ooze from Dean Roberts, a man who I find later on in the evening needs no microphone to be heard. But I’ll say more about that later. ‘California’, ‘Everything I Am’ and ‘Catch You When You Fall’ pour through the PA, Roberts’ vocals like satin to Stewart’s silky tones.


The delicate rustic ambience is so inviting and I feel like I’m sitting at home with a bunch of friends as we relax enjoying the music, atmosphere and general banter from both the audience and the band. There’s lots of giggling from the audience as Dean and Stewart tell awful jokes in between their songs that has the audience groaning in appreciation. Stewart taking time to pick fun at Randy Young and his height.

‘Heart I’m Holding Onto’ and ‘Lost In A Moment’ are great tracks, delivered effortlessly by Dean and Stewart before they play ‘Paper Heart’, a track that Stewart jokingly dedicates to Randy Scott. This dedication sees Randy take a seat in the front row, making heart shapes with his hands to Stewart, swaying along to the rhythm in a flamboyantly funny manner that causes laughter to exude from the audience, the obvious feeling of brotherhood between the two musicians is adorable.

“This is my song about everything that pisses me off in the world, in song form” says Stewart as ‘State of The Union’ rings out, a political track that addresses problems ranging from those occurring in Europe, “10 year old kids chasing a Youtube dream, and everyone's living their life through an iPhone screen’, addressing the lack of face to face communication and the rise of social media that lacks any real social interaction. It’s truthful track that highlights everything that really does seem wrong with the world these days.


Radio’ produces a sing a long from the audience who fill the small room with their vocal display and finishing off their set with ‘We Are’, Stewart and Dean bring their at times comedic set to a close to a round of enthusiastic applause. Wonderfully attention grabbing and thought provoking tracks I can honestly say I have loved every minute of their set.


Set List:

Moments Like These


Everything I Am

Catch You When You Fall

Heart I’m Holding Onto

Finding My Way Home

Lost In A Moment

Paper Heart

State Of The Union

Turn This Thing Around

When We Were Young


We Are


Find out more from Stewart Mac and his band at:




Continuing the jovial banter and intimate feel to the evening, the two Randy’s who make up the Canadian CHERRY SUEDE take their place at the front of the room. Randy Scott taking lead vocals and his electro acoustic, Randy Young on electric guitar as they jump straight into ‘Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere’. Applause ensues as the track concludes and a call for requests is pitched to the audience, immediately one patron suggests ‘Life In A Day’, a track that would normally be reserved for later in the set as it requires a little warming up first. I can only imagine Randy Young (RY) is referring to warming the vocal chords at this point. However, Randy Scott (RS) starts the opening chords and delivers the track with ease. I love the way that requests are just shouted out, the audience being allowed to determine the running order of the songs which means that every acoustic show is tailored to the audiences favourites tracks rather than structured set list, giving a more authentic and intimate feel to the evening.


‘After The Rain’ has a beautiful feel to the track, the acoustic delivery is mesmerising, RS delivering full on vocals that just slide softly into your ears, delightful and engaging, RY harmonising perfectly. The quasi political track ‘American Dream’ hits on a few truths and is accompanied by a story of performing it in London only to find there was an American in amongst the audience, thankfully he wasn’t offended by the lyrical content.


“Sometimes we have a tendency to write about relationships,” remarks RS slightly sarcastically. It’s true that Cherry Suede delivers a host of material based on relationship make ups and break ups. “How can one person go through so many disastrous relationships?” asks RY of RS. The banter that follows back and forth from the two Randy’s is full of comedic value that has the audience laughing loudly. RS recounts the personal back story which leads into the song ‘Us’ and I can’t help but feel the pain behind those lyrics.


‘In Pieces’, ‘One More Night’ and ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ continue through the audience requests. The room full of total adoration for the two Randy’s as they mix up delivering their heartfelt songs with banter, laughs and comedy throughout the evening. One of the amusing parts of the evening revolved around a gift that was given to RY at the beginning the gig where a fan had bought along a pair of extremely thick, orthopaedic style shoes to help RY with his “height problems”, much to everyones amusement where one audience member points out that Bono (U2) wears such shoes as he’s a tad on the short side as well. During their set Guy Jones very Kindly produces these shoes to RY and the room laughs loudly. RY, your lack of height takes nothing away from your musicianship!


Bringing their all to brief set to a close Cherry Suede invite Stewart Mac and Dean Roberts back to the front of the room accompanied by local singer/songwriter Guy Jones for an acoustic rendition of ‘Free Falling’. It’s at this point that I realise that Dean Roberts never need that microphone during his set. That man can bellow out the vocals and I’m taken aback as to why he doesn’t release his voice during his set alongside Stewart Mac. ‘Free Falling’ sees all 5 men standing together, singing, harmonising and playing guitar as one brotherhood and it was the perfect way to end the evening.

An amazing set, based in a wonderfully intimate venue that boasted laughs, love and heartfelt music. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this one tonight. Tomorrow night (Saturday 12th May) sees the full band set at The Crossing, Birmingham which should be amazing, several of tonight's fans are also attending that and making a weekend with both bands for their State of The Union Tour.

Try to catch them at a local venue, I swear you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be moved, entertained and leave the gig feeling less stressed and more upbeat by the time the sets are over. True music therapy happened here tonight. Thank you guys for a great night.


Set List:

Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere

Life In Day

After The Rain

American Dream


In Pieces

Stranger in my Own Hometown

One More Night

I’ll Be Waiting

Can’t Help Loving You

Free Falling


Find out more from Cherry Suede at:




Catch these guys at a local venue:

MAY 17 Mercat Bar Thursday, 7:00PM Edinburgh

MAY 18 The Brewery Tap Friday, 7:00PM Gateshead

MAY 19 The Abbey Saturday, 7:00PM Sheffield

MAY 23 CB2 Wednesday, 7:00PM Cambridge

MAY 24 The Diamond Thursday, 7:00PM Sutton In Ashfield

MAY 26 Brighton Electric Saturday, 7:00PM Brighton

JUN 01 Cherry Suede and Stewart Mac Friday, 7:00PM London

JUN 02 Cherry Suede and Stewart Mac LIVE in London (ACOUSTIC SHOW) Saturday, 7:00PM, London




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