Manchester review, Fri 30th Nov (15/12/01)

Phil Greenhalgh:


The stadium lights grew dark as dry ice clouded the stage, whirling search-lights cut through the haze as the drums pounded a primeval beat. Like a demon rising from a pit the leather studded lead guitar rose in silent hydraulic bliss, cutting through the blinding light. Arm aloft in a victory salute he walked slowly to the fore, Bass thumped like ???. You're not convinced are you?

OK then, four scousers walked onto some stage in Manchester, played a blindingly entertaining set of erstwhile social comment tinged with nostalgia, humour and just a hint of cynical vitriol. We laughed, sang along, bobbed up and down a bit and enjoyed a lot.

If it wasn't for the remarkably unpleasant fat bird directly behind us, without whom we wouldn't have known what each next line was going to besinging along at a HMHB gig is undoubtably one of lifes great pleasures, I mean there can be little to rival 500+ people crying out 'Fuckin' ell, it's Fred Titmus!' in glorious disharmony. But there has to be a word for the git who insists on singing the next line before the band has got there, (I can think of a few), perhaps in a attempt to show that they know the words better than everybody else and are therefore more real fans, Yes we KNOW that he's going to ask for 10 Kit-Kats and a motoring atlas now sing along nicely like everyone else, or shut the fuck up.

We have to be thankful that Nigel thought that Ken was changing a string, otherwise we may never have been treated to the amazing time filler along the lines of 'you're the reason that paradise lost'. That's the thing about HMHB gigs- with other bands you can sense the disappointed groan of most of the audience when they pull out something you've never heard- but not here, the unfamiliar stuff is as well received as hearing the opening scale thing, (B7 thanks Andy), of Paintball's Coming Home (with the added bonus of the fat bird behind you not knowing the words).

Spotted at least 3 Dukla Prague away kits in the crowd and one Brazil shirt with a number 10 on the back- people have been held in greek jails for less.

Guesting on drums was Ross out of Friends, or at least his chunkier brother.

Fortunately, it seems that there is little need to review the gig in great detail, as there was no shortage of cameras on sticks to catch the very pleasing performance. (Including Nigel's surreal opportunity to practice a few golf swings mid tune - hope it's not an indication that he's about to retire to a golfing villa on the Algarve.) Should the video ever see the light of day then it's gotta be worth 9.99 of anyones hard-earned, but pleased be warned, I was stood right next to the guy with the boom mike, and if it happened to pick up the annoying bint stood behind me, and therefore right under the microphone, then it may well fuck up your viewing.

Overall, well worth coming from San Francisco for, now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go and write on the bottom of my slippers with a biro.