Living close to Hebden Bridge means I have visited the 'Trades Club' a number of times. HMHB last played there about five years ago. The venue itself is excellent - if you can get in. The problem is the place is run by a bunch of bearded (women as well!) middle aged southern dope smoking hippies who try to impose a strictly 'members only' policy. Even if you manage to get hold of an advance ticket you still have to sign in and pay an extra 10 bob! You get the feeling you are not wanted in 'their' club.
We turned up towards the end of the support act set - The Undecided (I was as well). The sound was good but when I noticed three of the band wear sunglasses, well ......(the support band five years ago were much better!!!!?!!?!). The place was bloody packed and I understand that Geoff spent half the night trying to get some people into the gig who had come from the Midlands with tickets but were being refused entry due to 'fire regulations'. A really mixed audience as usual, but with too many 'members' for my liking, who just took advantage of being able to get tickets and then spent the evening sat round tables trying to talk over the band - why bother! So we ended up with the 'house full' signs up and 'genuine' fans locked out. Bit of a farce. When I got in the place one of my mates said "no chance of getting pissed tonight". I wondered what he meant until I tried to get to the bar. Two bar staff for 250 or so people! Bloody farce.
As for the gig...the best four and a half quid, sorry fiver, I've spent in ages. An excellent mix of stuff, old and (very) new. Took a bit of time to warm up with Fred Titmus, Friday Night, Running Order, Four Skinny Indie Kids, early in the set. A couple of brand new ones were chucked in for good luck - I hear there is enough stuff for a new album (Luton Town, Millwall, 1985!). Temptation soon got the better of me and I ended up at the front, sweating with the best of them. The lads near the front who were shouting for Vitas Gerulaitus all night soon got their wish along with Moshpits, Deep House, Paintball, Secret Gig and Turn a Blind Eye. I can't remember them all (I did manage to get half pissed!) but the highlights had to be Time Flies By and a cracking version of Help Me Rhonda, harmonies and all! Best of all was Everythings AOR, you almost forget how good it is. A cramped, sweaty and 'glad you managed to get in' time was had by all. Still an excellent venue (far better than the 'Firkin' type places they unfortunately end up playing) just a shame about the way the place is run. "......I can put a tennis racket up against my face and...." - see you next time?