St. Alban's 25th Feb 1999 (28/2/99)

Andy Martin, from inside the camp:

St Albans, north of London. Its hotels are constantly booked up with "business people" according to sources, so we counted ourselves lucky that we were booked into the Hotel Avalon, a two-star affair run by a bloke from Burnley.

The support band Spy 51 were nothing special, and the bass player/lead singer bird had a beard. She also went on a rant at the end of the night because she wasn't being paid, but at least she wasn't as weird as the big cheese at The Horn, who was very a sinister man. (I thought Spy 51 were pretty good the couple of times I've seen them in the past - Gez.)

The set from HMHB was a big mix of old and new, thanks mainly to the calls down the front for tracks from "Back In The DHSS" etc etc. I quickly decided that these people will never learn, especially when a bloke at the end nearly fainted when I told him there were in fact seven albums, and not three as he thought. Feedback and the new unnamed one sound better each time I hear them, as does Nigel's little solo regarding The Tindersticks and Radiohead. Help Me Rhonda was, as usual, marvellous but the best sounding song of all was A Country Practice thanks mainly to a half decent PA that didn't make the vocals incoherent once the bass guitar started.

Lots of people had lots of fun and subsequently purchased lots of albums, hello to all who complimented this website and enquired to the whereabouts of Gerard Wood (working, mate). Wayne Hemingway was also in attendance (see photo of Wayne & Polly) although he just sat and sang along rather than join in with the festivities at the front-of-house moshpit towards the end. An all round good-job on the whole, even if the gig poster (also in the photo) was a bit rubbish - "Check out this cult band for the first time at the Horn" - hmm, OK.

Some mean-and-moody lookin' bass bloke backstage...