The Assembly, Leamington Spa, Thu 28th January 2010 (31/01/10)

Graham Nash:

I don't want to irk the HMHB purists, but I thought I'd have a go at a review from a different angle, so here goes;

Anticipation for this gig had been building for ages. Being southern based, opportunities to get to see the band are limited. The Assembly in 09 had been excellent and the 2 1/2 hour drive was always going to be worth it. I brought a mate with me, an HMHB virgin, and hoped that he wouldn't think that we'd gone to ridiculous lengths for no reason!

Amazingly, we managed to get there even before the support started, and I have to say that Pete Bentham and The Dinner Ladies were an act I'm glad we didn't miss. I even found myself rushing to the concession shop to buy their CD. Power to your elbows guys. "New Underground!!"

PB & The DL's had brought a coach load of support down from Liverpool and this can't be overlooked as a contributing factor to a great atmosphere "down the front".

When the boys took the stage they were straight into a fantastic, tight set incorporating tracks, old and new, but each belted out with customary gusto and aplomb. When I say tight, that does under-state the amateurish start by Neil, taking 5 minutes to work out he had his lead the wrong way round.

There were plenty of those exchanges between Nigel and members of the crowd, almost intimate mini-chats, that make the HMHB gig such a homely experience. Interspersed with the bon homie was some outrageous pogoing in the Mosh Pit (sponsored by Peter Gabriel obviously), either partaken by those too young to remember proper, full-on pogos from the punk era, or those old enough to know better!

Sweat, body-odour, hoarse voices, not to mention mass outrage at the price of Pringles (Sour Cream and Chives).

But what a laugh. What a great night. Superb musicianship backing up the best written lyrics I've come across.

The drive back was hard work. The iPod continued it's journey through "All Songs" by HMHB and 2 am saw me home at last, having dropped off a former HMHB virgin, now a new convert.

Cambridge in March next, but also hoping against hope that the guys might travel towards the south to gig just once this year, so I could get along and not spend £50 on petrol nor suffer an extremely short night.