The Academy 2, Manchester, 13th December (17/12/02)

Chris Cole, c/o C4 Teletext:

An ideal festive antidote to Waterman's anodyne automatons, the Birkenhead boys continue to plough a lone furrow.

Andy Kershaw has described them as the best folk band in Britain - if folk is about ordinary peoples' lives, HMHB fit the bill perfectly.

Certainly, the unprompted singing of the audience on the likes of [Fuckin' 'Ell] It's Fred Titmus has more of the feel of a folk club. Unlike a folk club, however, it feels genuine and unforced. 8/10