Kinky Aggro

Hometown shows by bands with a `following’ are never great. Too many people wanting to be seen to be there. The size of the guest list queue is usually a good indicator of the kind of blaggery going on.

Happy Mondays at Manchester Central – what was G-Mex – fell right into the above category. Plus it was near Christmas so plenty were in a `festive’ frame of mind.

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Festive as newts, and the atmosphere could best be described as `challenging’. Lots of did you spill my pint-style fronting up by kagoul-clad scallies.

Good vibes in the area were few and far between especially as The Twang were the support. Heralded as the return of a Madchester spirit, they were actually a tuneless, shouty mess.

That didn’t spoil the main event, but actually led quite seamlessly into it.

The Mondays have obviously got a bunch of absolutely killer tunes and were a visceral live experience on the right night, but this wasn’t one of them. Even trading on old glories would have been too kind a description.

Poorest sound I’ve ever heard didn’t help them either.

I’ve given them a wide berth since although by all accounts – and by that I mean a few people who’ve seen them recently – they’re a good deal better now than the mess they were in then.

Maybe time to give them another chance. I mean, who doesn’t love this…a blinding remix of an already great track.

One thought on “Kinky Aggro

  1. As a general rule I loathe the movement that the UK press termed ‘baggy’, of which Happy Mondays was one of its leading proponents. Note I didn’t say that I loathed the music, at least not all of it. I acknowledge that there were some great tunes in amongst the sorry mess, but I also think that the stupid skip-shuffle beat, you know the one, which bolstered most of the songs in the charts at the time, became very cliched very quickly.

    It was more that the music snob in me detested how it suddenly became acceptable for the most dubious of individuals – young men that you wouldn’t have trusted with your car keys – to appear glamorous through the eyes of the London-based music press. Yeah right, mate. You try and live next door to them every day, as opposed to, say, from the distance of the M1.

    Granted my views may appear borderline fascist but in this instance I can base it on real experience, from the time when Happy Mondays were using the hall in my hometown to ‘rehearse’ the music for their then forthcoming arena dates back in the late eighties or early nineties. I use the term rehearse loosely here when really what I mean is that the popular UK DJ Paul Oakenfold was probably on-site to teach the band how to perform the songs from their hugely popular Madchester 12″ EP that he’d just ‘remixed’.

    On the day in question I was in the upstairs office of the now sadly defunct Queens Hall in Widnes listening to the endless ringing from the few telephone lines present in there. The phone would ring constantly with calls from all across Europe, the far East, and lord knows where else.

    “Shaw Rydah!”, the broken-English voice would exclaim upon actually getting through to us. “Please I speak Shaw Rydah!”

    Pause.

    Sigh.

    I am sorry, madam, but the band aren’t here at the moment. Please call back later. Thank you. You’d then hang up the phone and it would immediately ring again. It was nuts.

    After some time during this barrage of constant calls the subject of most of them, the band’s singer Shaun Ryder, pushed open the office door and stood just inside it, his feet placed at that ridiculous ten-o’clock and two-o’clock position mostly favoured by the likes of Mani and Liam Gallagher. I never understood that stance. What’s it supposed to mean anyway?

    But I digress. Best not to get me started.

    So there Shaun Ryder stood in his expensive trainers and designer leather jacket, hair falling into his face in that knob-head style so favoured of lads back then. In one hand, palm upturned, he held open a tray of fish, chips, and peas he’d no doubt just purchased from the chippy across the road, and in the other a four-pack of ale cans connected to him via that plastic ring holder thing that keeps them all together. The expression on his face was a combination of screwed-up irritation and arrogant incredulity.

    “Tell ’em all to fookin’ shag off”, he may have said, spewing forth a stew of ale and chips onto the carpet. “We’re not fookin’ talkin’ to any uv ’em!”

    Then with that he exited the room, door possibly slamming in his wake, although thinking back on it now the chances are that he may have just swaggered away since both of his hands were full.

    I’m not saying he was a bad man at all, because he probably wasn’t, and I also have to say that in the years hence I’ve developed considerable affection for his waggish charms whenever I see him on my telly or read about him in the press.

    I just take exception to the fact that he spearheaded a movement that allowed dick head lads the opportunity to have an icon who was supposedly just like them; dealing drugs, robbing cars, getting pissed, starting fights, staying out all night etc.

    I know I sound like my dad, I’m aware of that, but I was also at Spike Island (I got in free) and it was horrible too. Kids you’d avert your eyes from in case they clocked you looking at them were everywhere on that day.

    Maybe I’ve just always been a bit of a cissy. I know that part’s true.

    Good thing I didn’t tell that to Shaun Ryder.

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