Derby Victoria Inn, Thu 27th April (28/4/00)

Neil Woodhead:

The Victoria in Derby is a reasonable venue, with a capacity of 150 - or so the signs would have you believe. However there was another notice, which made it quite clear that any band playing a single note after 11pm would never play there again. The room was about two-thirds full, which for those that went to school in Birkenhead will tell you is around 100.

To gently agitate the crowd we had the MJ Hibbett and The Validators. They got the evening off to a start and were quite good again. However as they openly admit, they only support HMHB in order to get free entry into the gig - and with a line up of seven, that makes nearly £50. But then Nigel and the boys appeared on the small stage - to open with Fretwork Homework, Third Track Main Camera Four Minutes and Whit Week Malarkey.

Once again we were treated to a selection of modern HMHB classics - Secret Gig, Irk The Purists, Monmore Hare's Running, Vitas Gerulaitis, Gubba Look Alikes, Fred Titmus, Capel Curig, Everythings AOR, Mathematically Safe, You're Hard, Look Dad No Tunes,Uffington Wassail, Split Single With Happy Lounge Labelmates and many many more.

There were only half a dozen jigging, most prefering to simply watch and admire. There were two Dukla Prague away kits on display. A rather special moment was Nigel forgetting the start first line of 'there is surely nothing worse than washing seives' - but the eager audience reminded him that it was the seive song!

Nigel sang the first three verses of With Goth On Our Side, before he realised the other lads had fallen sleep....he duly stopped. We were also treated to Nigel singing a ditty about Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher visiting the pope.

Nigel's remaining rambling referred to golf clubs and people like HMHB who only play at Municipal courses - except during the winter months when enticed by bacon rolls and coffee...

The band returned for a short encore - including Capel Curig. Trundling back up the M1 later, John Peel played the same song and Andy Kershaw played Irk The Purists - a good finish to a good night all round.