It’s really about time there were some more Biscuit references to Scotland, isn’t it? Still, I’m sure the good citizens of Glasgow would prefer to keep their gigs if they had to make a choice between actual visits and being immortalised in song. What did everyone think of the gig then?
My first time seeing HMHB. I’ve been a fan since the mid 80’s and somehow missed their previous visit to Glasgow. I didn’t recognise every song, but they played tons that I knew. Nigel was in great form, joking with the crowd about sitting in the van all day while everyone else had stuff to do. He missed out on a rare sunny Glasgow day. lol. Highlights for me were a thumpingTrumpton Riots (much better than other live recordings I’d heard), National Shite Day (surely the day that Busted announce a comeback tour and album) and Joy Division Oven gloves, which finished them off. Also in amongst a set that incorporated a few from 90 bisodol was the steps/ bee gees/ karaoke favourite Tragedy. A guy in front of me did all the actions. Hearing Nigel sing the best line, from any song ever, ‘There’s a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets’ was worth the 10 mile train journey to Glasgow. Cheers guys, hope you come back soon.
8 June 2013
ThE Drummer from Flintlock
Nigel was actually talking about staying in the van when they stopped at Tebay, because “it thinks it’s better than what it really is”.
8 June 2013
ThE Drummer from Flintlock
Some more thoughts:
Started with When The Evening Sun Goes Down, finished with Joy Division Oven Gloves.
No new stuff, something from every album except Four Lads… (I think).
Highlights for me were Joy In Leeuwarden and Everything’s AOR – I had a tear in my eye at “I remember when she was reading Jackie”.
8 June 2013
ThE Drummer from Flintlock
Also, a muttered “She wasn’t really” after the Marilyn Monroe line in 99% of Gargoyles.
I know Nigel has said that he regrets that line, I don’t know if he always adds that bit now.
8 June 2013
HMHB Glasgow – 7th June 2013
I should know better by now, as they say; I know the score. It was a Friday and I had to get from London to Glasgow in the car and I made it quite clear to myself that I needed to leave by 10:30 a.m. to have sufficient time to allow for road disruption and to check into the hotel pre-gig. Portentous; bearing in mind events later.
As ever, I didn’t leave until midday and as such, caught a jam at Northampton. A customary 30 minute delay ensued while we watched the carnage to the metal cages caused by not keeping anything near close to chevron apart. I still haven’t worked out why everyone has to slow down to have a good look, but I guess that human nature is to be curious and hope that there is not a casualty. Further sluggish traffic ensued between the M6 toll and Haydock. The M6 between Stoke and Knutsford has to be one of the most overcrowded bits of motorway in the European Union, but as ever, I diversify and that is a hobby horse for the blog that I’ll never get round to writing.
Suffice to say, time was getting tight and I had to hold back the urge to stop at all, let alone at the very conveniently placed Tebay. As it happened, this may have done me a favour. Nigel fired off a mild broadside at Tebay. When in the act of leading into his rant, he asked Roger (Green – the professional Reviewer) if he’d stopped off on the way up. “No? They (points around at the band) stopped off at Tebay, but I refused. I sat in the van because it’s eating itself. Tebay now, thinks it’s better than it is. It’s eating itself; Tebay Services. I sat in the van listening to The Residents.” He quite properly followed this up with the chorus of ‘Perfect Love’ – “There’s something I must tell you, there’s something I must say; the really perfect love, is the one that got away.”
Anyway, to save you from the rest of my Glaswegian waffle should you have better things to do, how about the set-list? Here you go: –
Fear My Wraith
Trad Arr Tune
National Shite Day
Lilac Harry Quinn
I am personally very pleased that “Fear My Wraith” is back in favour, which vies with “Ordinary to Enschede” as my favourite song. Depends upon how I feel. Wraith is a well constructed tune, with the right level of lyrical pathos and it still makes me chuckle. I am also fondly reminded of the gig at The Waterfront in Norwich in 2008. A couple of local Likely Lads had more than amply sampled the local cider and were finding their own comedy heckling considerably more amusing than the rest of us. However, after the umpteenth request for “Fear My Wrath”, Nigel had to correct them. It was beginning to irk and to be fair; they did quieten down for at least a minute having received the rebuke.
The ABC, sorry O2 ABC is a good venue. The sound was not half bad, it showcased the excellent support from “Roja” very well and it was a well supported gig. Decent crowd in terms of number and behaviour, although the mosh-pit was rather muted judged against recent efforts. However, I suspect that this was a function of an early start and the capacious venue. It did seem a little “rushed”, because of the early curfew, but there were still the usual number of songs, perhaps a little bit less chat in between songs and possibly; less mid-set instrument tuning. It’s a world that I don’t inhabit anymore, but the venue was booked for a disco at 11:00 p.m. Not sure if was student, fancy dress or grab-a granny. Maybe a miasma of all three.
However, never fear; Nigel still had plenty of morsels of wisdom for our delectation. For starters, he reminded us that the nights will be drawing-in; in about a fortnight’s time. I had forgotten that it gets darker later in Scotland in the Summer anyway and this was immediately noticeable on departing the ABC. At the conclusion of “Mountain Bikes” we were informed that; “before the gods that made the gods woke up and made the gods, that’s when I was saying, that’s when I was saying, that Countryfile is dying on its arse.” I can’t say, but Nigel is a devotee, so I’m prepared to take his word for it.
In other news, Nigel thought that Sebastian Coe was a lizard. “Lord Shape-shifter. Just an observation.” The venue security and audience were not immune from his observations. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, (points at the barrier huggers) looks like the methadone counter at Boots.” I just picture (points at the security chap facing out from the stage) explaining this to a psychiatrist in twenty years time.” Whether it was linked, probably not; “Shit Arm” was prefaced with the sad tale of Nigel’s Uncle George. “This song is about taking my Uncle George to one of those things where the fish feed on your feet. Took my Uncle George. Only £35. Cheaper than a funeral.”
Ken, as usual, was cast in the role of the silent stooge. “First man in Wallasey to eat a cornetto.” Also, some sartorial advice from Nigel; “Your jeans are going to be soaking and you won’t have anything else tomorrow.” It was quite warm in the venue, more so under the lights; “That’s why we wore shorts. We didn’t want to, but these are easier to run under the tap in the hotel room and dry by the morning. You’re gonna be fcuked tomorrow, ‘cos you’re gonna have to walk around in your……. underpants, basically.”
The rest of the band were not spared the rod. “They’re probably going to Housesteads (Roman Fort & Museum) on the way to Stockton tomorrow. Again, I’ll probably just sit in the van, eating humane foie gras.”
And so on to the final unscripted part of the sermon. Inevitably, at this time of the year, one of the congregation asked Nigel was going to win Le Tour. “It seems to be between Contador and Froome. But in December last year, I got 80-1 on the young French lad, Thibaut Pinot… sorry, I got 100-1 on him because he was the best young rider last year. I got 80-1 on Pierre Rolland. Sorry, bit boring this (to everyone else). But, with it being 100 years, the French are going to go all out for it. So I reckon……… it’ll be Contador or Froome; won’t it? Great last night, did you see Contador and Froome last night? Don’t tell me what happened tonight, by the way. I haven’t seen it. Got it taped at the house on Cable +. Don’t tell me about Pointless, either. I was made up for that couple who won eight-and-a-half grand. They were great, they were. They covered all the bases, they were excellent. The things I have to do…” The last sentence was uttered with a knowing nod in Ken’s direction, as he was busy tuning up.
So there you have it. The Biscuits highlights package, not exclusively on Sky like so much top-line sport these days. I would say business as usual. Some good banter, good sound and some pretty good tunes. I was chatting to the very nice Gentlemen from “Roja” after the gig and we agreed that HMHB do just keep getting better. As time goes on, the tunes get better. Start working on your own theories…
So we march on to Stockton. It’s Part II of a double-header. In fact, Part I of a double double-header. Hope the Southern contingent can get to Stowmarket and Cambridge.
8 June 2013
Great review as ever, Mike. Fear My Wraith and A Lilac Harry Quinn were my personal highlights. It felt that the band had other stuff they could be doing the first few songs but soon had the crowd warmed up. Top night and great to see them after a year’s break.
Haste ye back,
9 June 2013
Chris The Siteowner
“This was a pretty underpowered display of their charms. Arriving onstage with zero fanfare, they strolled into a shoulder shrug of a show which rarely moved out of a modest cruising speed.”
Rare lukewarm review from The Scotsman, 8 June
9 June 2013
Hands off Angela
who the hell does Fiona Shepherd think she is?
9 June 2013
“Rockabilly rumble”? Really?
9 June 2013
Mike’s right, Ms Shepherd is wrong (to be fair, it’d have seemed more powerful in a smaller venue, HMHB don’t do loud and bombastic just for the sake of it, and they don’t do grand pretentious entrances either).
I was taken by the size of the crowd, had worried that it could have been moved down to the smaller ABC2 which would have been awful, but I have been to many ‘bigger’ bands in the ABC(1) that have drawn a smaller audience. Also seemed to be a lesser percentage of, well, 50-something blokes in Ts and DP shirts, and more younger blokes, girls (even some unaccompanied by aforementioned guys) and, I’m pretty sure, a few second generation fans there with parents (or vice versa?)
The band are now big enough to play venues which have a club night afterwards, so the shows always seem too short. Though maybe it’s simply that the back cat is so large and bountiful that any show will be too short.
Final aside, something that never seems to be mentioned – in fact, this should be a pop quiz: which ‘tune’ is unique to Glasgow i.e. never performed anywhere else?
A: The Ivor Cutler ‘cover’: ‘Glasgow Dreamer’ – “Glasgow Glasgow where are you? 216 from my yard” (I’m sure that’s further away than the Arches show last time, wonder if NB57 has moved house?)
10 June 2013
NoT ROGER GREEN
Roger Green has once again been lured into the back of the van by a man promising him a go on his edible mint-flavoured pencil sharpener, and so has fallen into the sticky stained hands of the Evil Henchmen of a Typical Warlord.
From captivity, a transcript of Roger’s pitiful youtube appeal reads thus. By the way, his concluding use of the adjective “restrained”, appearing to semi-endorse Ms. Shepherd’s views, will not lead his treatment in captivity to be any more so.
Bloody Satnav!! Sending us down the wrong streets and not knowing where the car parks are! Mind you, it didn’t help when Tony kept asking passers-by for directions to Western Isle Street, when we were actually looking for West Nile Street. But it was a magnificent driving performance from him, and at least we didn’t have the problems faced by Geoff and (presumably) the band, who were given directions to the wrong ABC, out on the other side of the river. Still, all’s well that ends well.
We had a fairly standard drive from Yorkshire. A1, A66 and M6 with a Rough Trade 2003 compilation to see us through. Not sure what Lord Kitchener’s London Is The Place For Me was doing on there, but I don’t put these things together. We saw a police chase near Richmond just to keep it interesting.
During the journey I explained how I have been troubled by my inability to work out the exact number of times I have been to these shows. Consultation with Gez’s website, and with my mate Mark, who is better than me at keeping records of this kind of thing, made me think I was on 108 before we set out. It’s a long time since The Leadmill in Sheffield in February 1986. I explained to Tony that in those days the only band that made me clock up the miles was The Fall. And it’s only since about 2001 that I started doing serious travelling for HMHB. That is what happens when you have nothing else going on in your life.
In recent times a lot of those gigs have been supported by Roja. They got the job again tonight. I still expect them to break out with the theme from The Good The Bad And The Ugly. In a moment of extreme extravagence, I bought their CD at the end of the night, not realising that they were standing next to me at the time. So it was handshakes all round, and even a photo with the band. Bit of a shame that Roja did not have a more attentive audience for their set. There was that hum of conversation throughout. It’s a pity that people can’t hang around outside until they have finished everything they have to say. But it’s a free world. I was at a Jeffrey Lewis show the week before, and he was fighting the same battle.
There was one of those curfews in operation, where everybody gets shovelled out at a particular time. HMHB were scheduled to be on at 8.30, so there were a few nervous looks at watches as it nudged towards 8.45. Short set coming up? As it turned out, they played a total of 25 songs, as opposed to 27 at Matlock Bath and 28 at Bilston, so things were slightly curtailed. No Tchaikovsky tonight. During the first song, I noticed Nigel glance at what was the largest mirror ball in the world. Later he noted, “The night’s are drawing in in a couple of weeks’ time”. The line at the end of Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes was “That’s when I was saying, Countryfile is dying on its arse.” He said “There’s a story behind this one,” ahead of San Antonio Foam Party, before pointedly not explaining the story. There was a security guy at the front who seemed to be made of waxwork. No expression, no movement. He was replaced by another one, who had some ear protectors. Or maybe he was listening to something on headphones. Any Questions? Super League? Radio 3 Concert? Nigel made light of his presence, pointing out that this may need explaining to a psychiatrist in 20 years time. The band had stopped at Tebay Services on the way through. Nigel had stopped in the van. He mentioned that he had taken his uncle to one of those places where fish nibble at your feet. “It was £35. Cheaper than paying for a funeral.” At times the sound was mediocre, and at one point the drum mike seemed to go off. Nigel, Neil and Carl were all playing the show in shorts. Nigel spoke to Ken about how his jeans would be soaked afterwards, being a roasting day and all that. Nigel would be rinsing his shorts out and leaving them to dry for the morning. Ever the professional. And a useful holiday tip. My failing hearing was no doubt playing tricks on me, but I’m sure that during National Shite Day when he mentions Stringy Bob answering the ad for a keyboard player, Nigel referred to “Doors, Floyd, Hendrix”. Hendrix? If nothing else, it gives me the opportunity to mention a band I saw advertised in the local paper. The Jimmy Shandrix Experience. A Must See. We had a burst of Black Night by Deep Purple. “Here’s one we wrote in the dressing room,” said Nigel before Petty Sessions. And then there was some cycling talk. Nigel’s feeling is that Le Tour is between Chris Froome and (I think he said) Contador. But he has also got £80 on a young French guy. Keep the faith, Nigel. Did I hear “Northwich” substituted for “Nantwich” during Look Dad No Tunes? There were cheers when Nigel asked for his guitar to be turned up (nearer the end of the gig than the beginning). Nice to be in the front row when he said it looked like the methodone counter at Boots. And Nigel said that Sebastian Coe is turning into one of those lizards who is ruling the world. Oh, and there was a nice touch from Carl at the end when he handed over his sticks to a young kid who had been standing at the front next to Tony.
All in all, everything felt a bit restrained. Perhaps because of the sound, or maybe they were just saving a bit for the Stockton gig. I haven’t got a clue really. Here’s how it went during the evening.
When The Evening Sun Goes Down
Lock Up Your Mountain Bikes
San Antonio Foam Party
Joy In Leeuwarden
99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd
Shit Arm Bad Tattoo
Bob Wilson Anchor Man
Fear My Wraith
Running Order Squabble Fest
We Built This Village
National Shite Day
A Lilac Harry Quinn
For What Is Chatteris
Look Dad No Tunes
Fuckin’ ‘Ell It’s Fred Titmus
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
And the encore
Fix It So She Thinks Of Me
Joy Division Oven Gloves
Good to catch up with Paul afterwards before he took the late train home. We had a couple of beers in the Pot Still, after which I had caught up with the latest on the Edinburgh Tram system, and the demise of Dunfermline FC. From there it was back to the Premier Inn. When you get chance, ask Tony to show you the picture he took from his room on the 18th floor.
Roger and out.
10 June 2013
Overheard at the back of the Glasgow gig on Friday:
Fiona Shepherd (of the Scotsman don’t you know): I am not paying seventeen pounds, fifty pence per person, plus booking fee, for a concert with no oomph!
Geoff : [overhearing and gesturing towards the two dozen middle-aged moshers] There is your oomph!
Ms. Shepherd: [looking at them] You call that oomph? They look like geriatric joggers out moshing. It’s disgraceful. And another thing – they’ve only had one chart hit.
Geoff Davies: [to his Probe Plus side-kick ] Deaf, mad AND blind. Uh, the entire first album was a massive hit as far as I can remember, madam. You should have come to a gig twenty-five years ago really shouldn’t you? Or gone to see the X-Factor Live Show, if you wanted chart hits.
Ms. Shepherd: When I pay for a concert, I expect something more interesting than THAT.
Geoff Davies: [indicating stage as Ken launches into more feverish tuning between songs] Well, that is Half Man Half Biscuit, ma’am.
Ms. Shepherd: Well, it’s not good enough.
Geoff Davies: Well, may I ask what you were expecting to hear at a Half Man Half Biscuit gig ? Something from Sydney Opera House, perhaps? ‘The Hanging Garden’ by the Cure? ‘Babylon’s Burning’? Herds of groupies sweeping majestically across the stage…
Ms. Shepherd: Don’t be silly. I expect to be able to see guitars colliding like they’re supposed to do.
Geoff Davies: You CAN see guitarists colliding – over there between Neil and Carl – they always trip over each other’s leads when they come back on for the encore anyway.
Ms. Shepherd: I’d need a telescope to see that!
Geoff Davies: Well, may I suggest that you move to a spot closer to the stage, down there by that security fella … next to the big exit door … [whispers inaudibly through clenched teeth] or preferably the other side of it.
Ms. Shepherd: Now, listen to me. I’m not satisfied, but I’ve decided to stay at this gig; however, I shall expect some media freebies.
Geoff Davies: Why? Because the smoke machine isn’t erupting during a climactic cover version of Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ at the moment?
Ms. Shepherd: No, because the gig is too hot, the mosh is too small, the view is invisible, there was zero fanfare when they came on stage and the PA doesn’t work.
Geoff Davies: No, the P.A. works. You don’t …….Madam, don’t think me rude, but, may I ask, do you by any chance have a hearing aid?
Ms. Shepherd: A what?
Geoff Davies: A HEARING AID!
Ms. Shepherd: Yes, I do have a hearing aid.
Geoff Davies: Would you like me to get it mended?
Ms. Shepherd: Mended? It’s working perfectly all right.
Geoff Davies: No, it isn’t.
Ms. Shepherd: I haven’t got it turned on at the moment.
Geoff Davies: Why not?
Ms. Shepherd: The battery runs down.
10 June 2013
Great stuff from all reviewers. Especially Mike & Not Roger Green, but even anyone who only writes 1-2 lines about a gig, never forget how much appreciated it all is by those of us who couldn’t make it. I feel weirdly bereft when I can’t make it, largely for financial reasons these days, e.g. if I can afford a train but there isn’t a train back then no way I can afford a hotel too. I’ll be sitting there at home wondering what song they’re playing right now sort of thing, but all your stuff helps a lot. Cheers, Biscuiteers!
11 June 2013