The Robin 2, Bilston, Thu 31st August 2006 (01/09/06)

Mark Armstrong:

In all the years I've been going to see HMHB (1st time was June 1986 at the Garden Festival in Liverpool of all places), this had to rank as one of the best I've seen. I'd put this down to the relaxed mood of the band with some very laid back bantering from Nigel, great venue sound (prompting Nigel to comment that the sound was actually too good for him at one point!), a great spread of tunes from the band (a very rare outing of Footprints - great stuff!) and the fact that they seemed to really be enjoying themselves. As ever the shouting of song titles was met with the response "Yeah, that's one of ours!".

I won't go into the setlist details, but special mention must go to:

Irk the Purists - always great to hear this one live, a great opener

Secret Gig - Always great 'in a live environment'

Transmission - A particularly stunning rendition of this

Reflections in A Flat - Another rarely heard gem

Look Dad No Tunes - A personal favourite (Nigel's proper rockstar-style jump from the drum riser prompting someone to ask if his knees were OK when they'd finished the song).

Other highlights included the onstage nods & smirks at bum notes, extended drum breaks etc, Nigels clear amusement at Ken's birdsong/dolphin guitar noises during Wrong Grave and Nigel's now legendary Caravan guitar - apparently he's going to get net curtains for it!

Finally a big thanks to my bro-in-law Mel for arranging our attendance at this one. It was his first time, but I hope my getting him into Nigel & co. goes some way to repaying him introducing me to the joys of Jonathan Richman (& others) when I was a mere slip of a lad.