The Boardwalk, Sheffield, 21st February 2008 (22/02/08)

Nick Hart aka Wobble:

That Rowland S. Howard Moment. By Wobble

I have a Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds gig on video at home (from about 1992). He gets various guests on stage, much to the delight of the audience, but in particular is Rowland S. Howard (quack) formerly of the Birthday Party. This is quite an occasion, and the look of joy and surprise on one of the blokes on the front row stuck in my mind that it was something special, and wished I'd been there.

The route from Hull to Sheffield's Boardwalk is a well worn one for us, and so little concern was given to the route. However, Sheffield is a sly mistress, and completely changing the road layout in the area had us flummoxed for a few minutes only saved by a bit of guess work, and following a car that looked like it knew where it was going.

The usual meet up at the Banker's Draft was topped off with a curry with a skin on top, and naan bread was worse than one could get at Tesco's. Had it been any other way I may have complained.

Taylo, and co were not to be found (they were next door), but people from all three corners of Hull met up, and we wondered down.

It was a comfortable 15minutes or so before the lads appeared on stage and in the lead up, was a Peel recording where he played The Fall's Sparta FC. A better warm up to a gig, I have yet to hear. They came on to some polite cheers, and with minimal fuss, they were straight into the first few songs..... which largely escapes me. Although one was definitely Light at the End of the Tunnel.

As is normal at many Biscuit gigs, the first few songs were met with calm bobbing up and down. Rarely do we see crowds of people moshing straight off from the beginning, which always leaves me nervous, as I fear it will be a dull evening, which is especially hard when one has friends who have come along for the first time and are expecting a special evening. But just about every time, my fears are in vain, as a few songs in, and the front suddenly livens up.

The tosser count was about average, and the recent Post Office closures unfortunately hadn't stopped the predictable shouts from the off. One must pity such people.

A few songs of bouncing around, and I was well and truly warmed up when 24hr Garage People started. Although we've seen Biscuit many times, many of which were in the Boardwalk, how can they still impress this much after so many outings? It was brilliantly done, with well timed references, and was received with the laughs it deserved.

And a few songs later, it happened. The Rowland S. Howard moment.

Our very own Loop was announced on stage while I was down the front, and my face must have been the same as the chap who witnessed Mr Cave reuniting the Birthday Party. Fortunately, there we no sign of drug fuelled rock'n'roll, but the horn accompaniment was the standard that one would expect from her calibre. A second song with Loop on cornet (?), and a return to the horn was a splendid treat.

Now that posts have gone up on the forum, I can pretend I'm not a complete ignoramus regarding her intro to Chatteris as it was "A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square". It sounded fab, and the Chatteris wasn't bad either.

The new material seemed to get better as each hearing brings new appreciation, and the new album seems tantalisingly close.

A dedication to a sadly departed member of the Biscuit following was the queue for some classic DHSS material. Never losing its edge with age, the crowd pleasers did indeed please.

The Joy Division Oven Gloves got their regular outing, and space seemed to appear where one would normally get squashed down the front, meaning I had a room for a good gloved dance. They were met with the usual delight of strangers, which is always friendly.

The cover was a return of the Tiffany classic, and apparently the female section of the audience were singing as one, word for word. And a few blokes I suspect.

Finally, but by no means least, was Wrong Grave. Always a welcome tune, but tonight just seemed to be a notch or 5 better. It was sublime, and a perfect ending to a perfect evening. In fact if they'd only played that song, then the £15 ticket would have been good value for money.

A quick loiter near the merchandise stall revealed the new album out in a few weeks. It can't come soon enough. I even filled a gap in the vinyl collection that I'd told myself I wouldn't get (completism? Pah!), but was on such a high I caved in.

Is there a moral to this tale? Well if there is, it's probably something to do with not doing drugs, and ducks.

"Broadsword calling Danny boy,
Broadsword calling Danny boy. Over"