Shepherd's Bush Empire, Thu 21st December 2006 (22/12/06)

Simon Fyffe:

When I heard the band were playing Shepherd's Bush Empire, I thaught that the venue was going to be far too big and expected it to be half empty. I was proved wrong as it was packed and a near sell out.

The support band were an uninspiring alt country type band that did not impress me. Anyway, HMHB were in cracking form, possibly as 2007 has probably been a record year for number of gigs from the lads. They kicked off with 'Light at the End of the Tunnel' and it was non stop then for about 100 minutes. As usual they played a mix of classics and less known songs with a few surprises as ever. Great to hear 'Paintballs coming home' again and the highlight for me was a really raw version of 'Look Dad No Tunes'. I also had not heard Nigel talk such a lot between tracks and introduce several song titles. The only disappointment was a never ending 'Country Practice' - nice guitar breaks but otherwise plodding.

Four encores included the Clash's 'What's my Name' and the biggest surprise for me (and possibly the first time ever live) 'It's Cliched to be Cynical at Christmas'. This track incuded the three girls from the support band and a glitterball stage lighting effect that reminded me of the Pogues 'Fairytale of Christmas'. Great stuff.