Well, what can I say, as a HMHB 'virgin' as far as gigs are concerned, but having my life well and truly buggered by them (is it really natural to think of the synchronicity of bean tins every time you see one?), I ventured off to Derby to see my musical heroes of the past fifteen years.
Even the journey on the train to Derby had it's slight Biscuitesque theme, passing under the train bridge in Long Eaton where one of my school mates had inexplicably spray painted 'Tranmere Boot Boys' twenty-odd years earlier, having never seen them play, and not even supporting them.
Walking into The Vic, you know it's going to be a decent gig when the first two people you see are a bloke in a Dukla Prague shirt, and a girl behind the bar wearing a T-shirt with 'I Hate Your Band' printed on it. Then onto the gig, appearing on the stage which had been graced by acts from Dodgy to Dogshit Sandwich, came the lads, fresh out of the Birkenhead Van Hire tour bus...
Once they'd remember the opening line, the set started with Fretwork Homework, and then went through Third Track Main Camera Four Minutes, Whit Week Malarkey, Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes, Uffington Wassail, a ditty along the lines of 'Tiptoe Through The Yes Show', Improv Workshop Mimeshow Gobshite, Mathematically Safe, The Best Things In Life, Outbreak Of Vitas Gerulaitis, Irk The Purists then to a brief song about Liam Gallagher and Robbie Williams called 'Who The Fuck In Hell Are You's Two?' (the same tune as 'Who the Fuck are Man. United', if you hadn't guessed), which sounds like an offer of a fight if ever I've heard one.
They then went on with Malayan Jelutong, With Goth On My Side, Monmore Hares Running, Secret Gig, Running Order Squabble Fest, Look Dad No Tunes, You're Hard, Gubba Look-a-Likes, Fuckin' 'Ell It's Fred Titmus, Bottleneck At Capel Curig and finished with Everythings A.O.R.
After disappearing for a couple of minutes, they returned for a two track encore of Paintballs Coming Home and See That My Bikes Kept Clean.
Like I said, it was my first HMHB gig, so I really can't compare the venue with anything (until the Leicester and Notts gigs anyway), but if this is was a usual show, then 23 album tracks and a few bits and bobs in between was more than enough to satisfy my addiction, and seeing them live for the first time my very, very, very high expectations of them were well and truly met.
Cheers lads, a brilliant night, and finished perfectly with Andy Kershaw playing Irk The Purists when I got home. Roll on Leicester...