A Night of Madchester Nostalgia

A very wet and dreich night was soon forgot about on Tuesday night when Manchester legends Happy Mondays graced the stage with their presence. A band like them is always sure to get the party started and get fans up and dancing. Kicking things off with ‘Kinky Afro’ fans in the crowd weren’t long in joining in with Bez and his unique moves. After playing ’24 Hour Party People‘ Ryder was amused and mentioned the fact that “singing a song your wrote in your teens about partying for hours on end then singing it again when your 60 is pretty tiring”. Though they are all 30 odd years older they really have not lost their touch, their sound and especially their stage presence. As always Ryder and Bez had banter in between their songs which the crowd couldn’t get enough of, especially when they stated their love for Glasgow. They finished strong with “Wrote For Luck” and left the crowd on a high, eagerly anticipating James to follow. As every Happy Mondays show goes there was lots of classics, lots of banter and lots of dancing.

The lights went down for the second time which was received from the crowd with a roar as James walked on stage. Beginning their set with the opening track ‘ZERO‘ from their latest album ‘All The Colours of You‘ which may have been seen as almost a depressing way to begin their show as the main message from this song is that “we’re all going to die”, it seemed to ease fans gently into what was to come. The band followed this song up with another new track from their new album “Isabella” which, being more upbeat got the fans going and set up for the timeless classic ‘Born of Frustration‘ that came after. Tim Booth’s dancing is always a main focus point of their live shows and it’s easy to see why. Watching him get so into his music truly is breath taking. The whole band smiled and got into the music the whole night which made it come together so well. As tracks jumped from albums past and present, classics and new found favourite tunes blew the roof off the OVO Hydro and the crowd couldn’t get enough of it. For a band that has been going since the early 80s they sound just as good, if not better than they ever have.

The band finished their set very strongly with ‘Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)’ and ‘Come Home’ which sounded phenomenal and had everyone in the venue buzzing and singing away to every word with the band. The encore though, felt really special, especially for Tim himself. The first of the encore was one final track from their latest album, ‘Beautiful Benches’ which again, was another upbeat future classic from the band. Tim then spoke to crowd before playing the second of their encore tracks, ‘Laid’ mentioning that sadly last year he had lost his father in law due to Coronavirus and that before his father and law sadly passed, he asked Tim to sing this to him, this was applauded by the crowd as Tim Booth would go on and sing it so perfectly and have every single person in the venue on their feet singing. The band finished the night with the most popular James tune to date, ‘Laid’ which sounded like every person in there sang along too. As always, James know how to put on a good show and give the fans what they want. It really was a special night. Live music doesn’t get better than that.

Sarah Fergusson