Hebden Bridge review, Fri 12th February (20/2/99)

Andy Martin, from nearer to HMHB central:

Hebden Bridge - "the gateway to Yorkshire" - can be likened to The Bleak Midwinter, and not just because this gig was taking place during the actual Bleak Midwinter.

And surprise surprise there's a support band despite assurances there wouldn't be one. And surprise surprise they put the rub in rubbish with their "oh look at me I'm wearing shades" guitar poses and a lead singer who had quite clearly eaten all the pies. They also played a clumsy heavily laboured set that went on long enough to force Geoff Davies into reminding the Trades Club management that Half Man Half Biscuit were contracted to play at 9.30, and not 10 o'clock. For a venue that prides itself on being (and I quote) "very professionally run" the decision to put a massive THREE people behind two bars when the place was (and I quote) "the busiest it's been since Chumbawamba played here in 1991" more than a little inept. I can also now report that the management had originally wanted the band to play half a set then sit about for an hour before playing the other half. They were unsuccessful. The "members fee" was, as predicted, as pointless as it was at Crewe and an absolute scandal when travelling fans were being turned away in favour of "members" who, as reported, just parked their arses and talked for most of the gig.

As for the gig, I can't add much more to what's already been said. The crowd needed a little coaxing, but soon got the hang of it. The set was a good mix of new and old - it was good to hear as many requests for post-McIntyre stuff as there were for Old Tige etc etc. Help Me Rhonda got another airing as did Feedback ("In me bedroom in Nantwich, I stamp me foot down on the amp switch - that's the time to Feedback") An as yet unnamed one formed part of the encore, it features bits of various between-song-pieces by Nigel. Anyone who's heard his verse about "walking across the forecourt of the Firestation" will know what I'm talking about. Other lines encompass "Late Lunch Audience - a little bit of knuckle"; his reference to the "Sealed Knot Society - try and have a go at this one - Luton Town/Millwall 1985" and finally "on the mound there stands a Lady, who she is we cannot tell. When the Cher impersonator rises up in Israel." Smashing.

That's all then. Not so much a review, more a criticism of the Trades Club management getting it all horribly wrong when it came to predicting just how poular HMHB are. Let's hope they learn from it like everyone else did. Thanks go to everyone that came along, and apologies to anyone that didn't get in.