The Tower Lounge, Blackpool, Fri 23rd November (24/11/07)


Half Man Half Biscuit? At the Tower Lounge, where hapless tourists are charged £5 for a bottle of blue WKD on a Saturday afternoon? Surely some mistake? No, it really happened, and on a bitterly cold November night too. I had to scrape my car windscreen before setting off.

Sadly, despite good intentions, my mate and I arrived after Calvin Party had been and gone. Damn. Walking in, we were shocked to find the place packed. Surely all these people can't have come to see HMHB? Mind you, the £16 door charge would have surely dissuaded the hen parties. Wouldn't it? There was a big screen in operation above the stage, but for some reason this was turned off after a couple of songs of the Biscuits set. An odd decision, because unless you were right at the front, your view of the low stage would have been terrible. We were still in mid-crowd, finishing our bottle of beer (I wouldn't trust the pumps there) when the Wirral quartet took to the stage. There was a gap while they plugged in their instruments and tuned up (Neil was ready before the other two and as usual, teasingly played some Joy Division riffs) before they cranked out the first of many classics, "Restless Legs". The sound in the middle of the venue was appalling at the start, but we were in the mosh by the second song and so I can't tell if it improved.

Approximate setlist:

Restless Legs
Fred Titmus
For What is Chatteris?
Bad Loser on Yahoo Chess
Running Order Squabble Fest
Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes
Tending the Wrong Grave for 23 Years (strayed into 'Hip Priest' in the quiet bit)
Bottleneck at Capel Curig
Vatican Broadside
Bob Wilson Anchorman
Shit Arm, Bad Tattoo
He's on the 'roids
Them's the Vagaries
We Build This Village on a Trad. Arr. Tune
Paintballs Coming Home
All I Want For Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit
Look Dad, No Tunes
Used to be in Evil Gazebo
Outbreak of Vitas Gerulatis
Everything's AOR

Encore (out came the caravan guitar)
A Song from Under the Floorboards
Joy Division Ovengloves (dedicated to Paul Fox)
The Trumpton Riots

Brilliant stuff. Surprise - no "24 Hour Garage People", although I would have swapped this for "Paintballs Coming Home" myself. No "Country Practice", but a welcome return for "Used to be in Evil Gazebo". The two new ones from the recent Radio Merseyside broadcast were included, but "Blue Badge Abuser" wasn't.

Loop appeared from nowhere for "JD OG" and waved hers around in the air. Also lurking down at the front were Nwobble and Phil - nice to put a face to the name at last. Oh, and hello to Moo as well. Off at 10:50, home by 11:15 with a cup of tea. It's good to live by the seaside.

Word from the merchandise desk is that a new album is expected early in the New Year.

Earlier this evening, I was musing to myself who'd I pick if I was forced to nominate just one band as my ultimate favourite. When leaving the venue, I mentioned this to my mate and he said that he'd been thinking the same thing. We both agreed that after a night like this, we'd be hard pressed to say that anybody but Half Man Half Biscuit fitted the bill. A wonderful band and another top night.

Roll on Sheffield.