The Auditorium, Leicester, Thu 28th April 2011 (01/05/11)

Mike Cresswell:

A Biscuit gig is fine way to round off the kind of week that has the faint, premature whiff of early retirement. There must come a time when a three-day week is the norm and I could get used to it. Not too far to travel home for yours truly for a change; which was a bonus. Double-bonus was that I could have a lie-in and miss most of "The" wedding.

Enough of my rambling, let's look at the evidence. An interesting venue; the Auditorium. No cash had been wasted on decoration and even less on a mop. The floor was, how shall I say; mucilaginous. The rather makeshift stage looked like it needed a bit more input from Chippy Minton and the sound for the support band was at best, average. However, as it turned out, it was spacious, the acoustics were decent and once the sound had been sorted out, it was not too bad.

For starters, how about the set-list? Here you go: -

Fred Titmus
San Antonio
Restless Legs
Asparagus Next Left
Petty Sessions
Squabble Fest
Bob Wilson
Left Lyrics
Deep House Victims
Bad Review
National Shite Day
Light Tunnel
Lark Descending
Surging out of Convalescence
Lilac Harry Quinn
Bob Todd
Tommy Walsh
Evening of Swing
Country Practice
Trad. Arr. Tune


Dreaming (Blondie cover)

There were a few teething problems with the sound, one of which was a constant buzzing during song-breaks. It seemed easily cured and was described by Nigel as like a giant bee. He informed us that he got stung by a bee yesterday - £5 for a jar of honey in Sainsbury's. One of a number of jokes from the Comic Blackwell this evening, who was in particularly garrulous mood? Nigel did suggest that if they put the buzzing back on he could go into Final Solution by Pere Ubu; "I reckon.... maybe not... best not."

There was a fair amount of good natured banter with the congregation, a few gentle swipes in Ken's direction and inevitably, talk and references to the big event the following day. Upon being asked if he was going to watch the wedding, Nigel replied with a; "Nah, I'll be on top of Moel Siabod." I think that's what he said!

Introducing National Shite Day, Nige proclaimed that "this is probably about tomorrow". In "A Country Practice", NB57 was, of course, "Incredibly bored by the Royal Wedding". In the same song; "Let's hear it for weather forecasters telling me it's going to be a miserable day tomorrow - what a pity!" I'll let you add your own irony. Finally in CP, "Let's hear it for Matt Dawson in Question of Sport saying 'Get in there, my son'" in a more than passable cockney accent.

The 'end-of-term' atmosphere was extended with further badinage from Nigel. There was not much football chitchat, save for a 'doff of the cap' to Mr. And Mrs. Lineker's fruit stall in the market outside and near shock at Tranmere having netted four goals last weekend to ensure that they are "Mathematically Safe". However, Nigel's Grandfather was remembered as a lucky charm at Prenton Park and a nice man; "he gave all his money to sick animals. He didn't know they were sick until after he was backing them, though."

A gentleman in the audience was selected for another gag; "Nice shirt, though if you had an outside aerial, you could sort that out, you know." In "San Antonio", what I call pleasure, you call pain was the Tour de France. Fits. A little ditty, to the tune of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' reminding us to keep a close eye on our local tavern; "Halfway House, Poker Night, bound to be rigged and the beer is sh1te."

In terms of the musical content, it was a set-list with the usual dependables and an opening statement that was a simple nod to Poly Styrene; closely followed with a "Lest we forget..." and off we go with Fred Titmus. Always good to hear Deep House Victims and after a rather subdued San Antonio (prior to sorting out the sound), things then accelerated with a re-run of Asparagus, which I rather feared was a one-off last time out. I'm sure that our official correspondent, Nigel/Charles/Exford/Exxo/Pop Tart Mark (you know, the man with an identity crisis) will have been officially delighted, having missed it's cherry popping with a trip to see a dire nil-nil behind the old Iron Curtain. JDOG was particularly vociferous and stimulated serious action from the mosh-pit.

At one point, Nigel started off a long soliloquy on the subject of Soap Operas. It was prompted by one of the congregation reminding him that HMHB were name-checked in 'Stenders during the week (apparently) and he had heard this. He used to watch Emmerdale (only fresh air that I used to get) but abandoned it after the 'plane crash. He still watches Corrie, mainly for Norris and his friend Mary; who is Nigel's pin-up. Not Luanne, though. Sorry, is it Leanne? Luanne is in King of the Hill. She is Ken's favourite. Nigel prefers Peggy, who looks like Sarah Palin. At this point, some self-reflection from our Pastor; "What the frick am I going on about?" Nicely rolled in; for welcome to the opening chords of "Surging out of Convalescence".

Again, a nice little exchange with the throng regarding Pink Floyd. There were some breeze blocks aside the stage (it was still under development, as I mentioned) and a punter thought that they could recreate "The Wall". Nigel claims to be the only person that has never watched it and he is sure that he is one of those types that; "only like the early stuff, you know". To the tune of "Bike", we were treated to; "I've got a bike, it's a Track 1.0 Type Road Bike, it gets me up hills - only a double, mind; I wouldn't have a triple." I hope that makes sense to the cycling fraternity.

Finally in this round up, a celebration of the gentle banter in the direction of Ken. Having sorted his sound out so that we could hear his guitar, Nigel noted that someone had dropped a load of plasticine in front of his drive this morning - he didn't know what to make of it. You don't get this with Guided by Voices, you know. Apparently, Ken's Uncle was the first man in Colwyn Bay to eat a waffle.

As usual, Nige gave us a window into the events of the day. There was a big argument at Bradgate Country Park between Ken and strangely, a man from Montgomery. It was actually a mild altercation regarding hard boiled eggs and whether you should put salt on them or not. "I didn't actually know where I stand on that one... I do, but I also know that salt is the silent killer. I sloped off to the Gas Museum." Once again, a HMHB gig is not merely musical content, but an all-round experience of the venue, some banter, comedy and necessary public information. He should get a grant.

So, there you go. The second game of the current season and as sure as ever. Nice to have a relatively short drive home, too. I'm looking forward to a rare home gig next time round. Many of my friends question my motivation for attending all but the odd gig? "Why?" I often rehearse eloquent answers, designed to try and educate them of the brilliance of the experience, but it always simpler and somewhat more satisfying to respond with; "Why not?"