Nottingham review (18/6/00)

Alan Clifford:

Purists may well have been irked by the dodgy support band and a few sound problems early in the Biscuit's set, but once Neil's bass thang got the amplification it deserves things were on a roll. It was a warm night, in a venue that once boasted Led Zeppelin (so legend has it) and still boasts 1970's artexing on the ceiling which caught Nigel's attention. Whether it was the sound, the heat or more likely just 'Nottingham'...the crowd seemed a bit subdued until about a third of the way into what was another brilliant set. Varying the set list from the Leicester gig meant a real sense of 'value for money'...Nigel even joking at one point that he has no idea what's coming next, he waits for the music to start then adds the words. Between song references to Tranmere players and Bayern Munich met with cries of 'you pies'...not a form of abuse but a reference to Notts County (aka The Magpies), crowd calls for Nove on the Sly only led to disappointment as this gem of a track is still not one for the stage it seems. Whether it was ironic or moronic I'm not sure, but the call to 'play some of the old songs' was largely ignored. Yes there's some brilliant stuff in the back catalogue, but the band are more relevant in their third decade then in their first. How many times have people said to you 'HMHB, didn't they do a thing about Trumpton, a train and Dukla Prague'.....and don't you want to say 'yes but they're even better now!'

The band put on the usual high quality performance, despite the temperature, Nigel dealing with sweat down the neck with a handy loo roll (Barry White used to have a great selection of towels for when he perspired in performance). Footprints was not one I'd heard live before (although it's been in some recent gigs apparently), and it came across well with Nigel making sure every word was cleanly delivered.

24 Hour Garage People had the faithful at the front doing the words and Al Jolson (or did he copy Leadbelly?) style hand movements at the 'Tuna Sweetcorn' line. Doreen was not there but Fred Titmus was, and all of a sudden the set was over.

The venue has a dressing room with a door accessible only by coming off stage into the crowd, and a door that only opens from the the encore followed pretty rapidly, and shoot me down for not being a completist but I didn't recognise the first song of the encore...

It all ended with Trumpton Riots played, as were all of the songs, with energy and knowing smiles from crowd and band. Another top night, this band do not disappoint.