London Astoria, Fri 21st July (24/6/00)

Leigh Hunt:

At last Summer has hit and so an hour and half train and tube journey (surrounded by people off to see some band called Oasis) had left the good lady and I hungry and in need of liquid refreshment. So, stepping out into the hot and smelly Tottenham Court Road, it was a quick stop at Burger King for a Giant McWhopper Double McBuster Burger followed by a visit to the cool relief of the only pub on Oxford St - The Tottenham.

By 7, we had been joined by Snooty Malcolm and the pub had a healthy smattering of Biscuit fans in various shirts. Several cold yet expensive ciders were quaffed before Malcolm badgered us to go off and see the support. As we entered the venue, I picked up one of the lyric t-shirts from the delightful Denise and met the lovely Julie from the mailing list for this first time.

So, buoyed by the general good atmos, we descended to see John Otway. I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't this. Otway is a majestic experience - amusing cover versions, some clever musicianship, loads of jokes, cartwheels and falling off of ladders. Considering the faces of the grinning fools around us, it seems most people there agreed - they were a perfect HMHB support act.

The Biscuits took the stage not long after. As usual, they tend to look more like cheeky schoolboys rather than indie rock gods but I'm sure they prefer it that way. I slowly meandered/barged my way to the front as the opening chords to Uffington Wassail started up. This is a much better choice of opener than Irk which they'd done the last couple of times I'd seen them. Still it needed a few of us to start leaping like salmon to 'Snap at rakish heels' to get the rest of the mob to move. A breather next as we chortled along to Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes.

A few choice cuts (Fred Titmus and Reflections) from the early days kept the 'Oh, they're not as good as they used to be' brigade happy although I still heard one moan to his friend about how they should play Len Ganley not this modern stuff.

Godcore was ignored but from other early albums we had Outbreak, Running Order, Monmore, Dead Men, 4 Skinny and Secret Gig. At one time, Neil took hold of Nigel's guitar and we were treated to a rare Footprints which incorporated Nigel knee-walking. Between songs, we had the now famous Slipknot ditty as well as 'Tiptoe through the Yes Show' - hopefully these will turn into new songs soon.

From ToB we were blessed with 24 Hour, LDNT, Maths and Irk. Just to finish us off nicely, we had the unbeatable double blockbuster of PRS Yearbook and Trumpton Riots. They exited the stage before returning rather rapidly for a blast of Bottleneck and the elongated version of A Country Practice, 'Go home Henri!' (Leconte) being a particular favourite extra bit.

So, we exited through beer cans into the gloaming. A quick trip to a tacky pub with flock wallpaper down a piss and glass-strewn alleyway rounded things off nicely. A stranger who'd been to the gig on his own joined us and we had a good chat. It's amazing but I've yet to meet a Biscuit fan who's a git and that is as good a recommendation of the band as I can think of.