"I'm Hornsea - Hornsea, Hornsea, Hornsea" (3), Tue 11th May (18/5/99)

Andy Martin:

Famous only for "Hornsea Pottery" (no, that's Hornsey near Lancaster!) this little village cowers in Hull's shadow on the coastline of a sort of muddy-brown sea. We arrived at the (badly signposted) Floral Hall to be greeted by the sound of a cover version of some Rolling Stones song. So it was with baited breath that we made our way in, cheerfully greeting the miserable-as-fuck doormen, and to our horror witnessed another Barrow-in-Furness. One deserted dance floor, one overstaffed bar, one hundred or so punters and one Alan From Barnsley, who's recent gig absence had been noted by the band. Some of you may know him as "bouncy hat guy." Either way it was good to see him again, but not so good seeing him kicked out of the place later on by the aforementioned twat doormen who's obvious intention it was to have a fight with someone before the night ended.

Mr Scott Maxwell, replete with his old skool Queen Of The South shirt, was a thoroughly decent fella and obvious fan of HMHB, although his access-all-areas passes were a let down by the background artwork of a (wait for it) biscuit. His band, like them or loathe them, did their bit and retired to the bar where the majority of punters had taken residence. These people were only too aware of HMHB's first two albums but little else, which is where the problems arose when anything post-McIntyre was played. It was during "All I Want For Christmas..." that a girl approached me and asked whether "Nerys Hughes", "Best Things In Life" and "the one with that Roger Dean poster line in it" would be played. I said no. She asked why they were only playing "new stuff." I told her how old "All I Want..." was. She said she didn't know it. That pretty much explains the Hornsea crowd for you. Now go and read the Coventry review and tell me what this band can do to please everyone.

The Underpant Explode are probably really funny in Hornsea, especially amongst friends, but to the rest of us they were a bit rubbish. There was a really bad "Match Of The Day" solo, a tune that tried really really hard to sound like a Fast Show "Jazz Club" variant and a number of cover versions with the words changed. Like "Hey Hey We're The Monkees" (which the Macc Lads did years ago) and the embarrassingly bad "You're Horrendous" (which has been banded around Manchester as "You're Gormless" by the Shirehorses.) They may have been having a laugh, Scott, but I wouldn't charge people to listen to me and my mates tell jokes to each other in the pub.

So, contrary to certain opinion, Half Man Half Biscuit actually did enjoy themselves and didn't question the state of the crowd at any time. As with Barrow they played and sounded superb but the venue was full of people who didn't know "Paintball's Coming Home" existed. The same people were only too eager to stock up their album collection once the gig was over and, should they ever come to a HMHB gig again, won't feel as embarrassed as they did on this particular night because they didn't know 90% of the songs.