O2 Academy, Bournemouth

Happy Mondays

On a busy Wednesday evening we’re here early to witness two of the most seminal bands of one of music’s most enduring “scenes” – we’re talking “baggy” here! The venue is at least half full now as we await the Inspiral Carpets. On they stride, one by one. Last on is original singer Mr. Stephen Holt who immediately “assumes the pose”, constantly leaning forward all through the set. The setlist is a fan’s dream (excluding material from The Beast Inside).

The moshpits of the early 90’s have all but disappeared but there is a buzz in the room as we all sing along to “She Comes In The Fall”. The hits keep coming while the applause is loud. They play a new song (who’s title escapes me) which has a definite Stranglers (1990 era) feel to it, which also goes down well.

The majority of us (me included) are here for the classics though. “Generations” & “Dragging Me Down” don’t disappoint before a looped intro to the brilliant “I Want You”. All through the set Stephen (Holt) pleads with us to “raise the roof” I think he’s forgotten we’ve all gotten older! There’s no moshpit but he gets us moving to set closer Saturn 5 which ends a great set as openers to the main event.

Inspiral Carpets

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Having not witnessed the Happy Mondays the first time around I wont try and compare. However, I can confess to being a fan and this first for me is a very enjoyable. First onstage is the stunning Rowetta in a striking tartan number, as she dances across the stage swirling a pair of tassels. The remainder of the band follow before the ‘main man’ strides forward. I wont confess to recognising all the songs, but “Loose Fit” and “Kinky Afro” are instantly recognisable getting the ball rolling for the dancers among us, while “24 Hour Party People” really gets us jumping and is a corker. It took a couple of songs for Shaun (Ryder) to find his range but once in the swing of things he appears more relaxed vocally and drinking bottle water throughout his sobriety is apparent. Shaun makes every effort to get the band members to introduce themselves,but the replies are short. The band just seem to want to play uninterrupted. Shaun dedicates at least 2 songs to the Greater Manchester Police Force-oh the irony!

Happy Mondays
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The band just shoegaze as Shaun and Rowetta take the plaudits. Another dedication heads toward the Manchester Tourist Board as Shaun displays an altogether comic take on references. The only thing missing is Bez! A great version of “Hallelujah” gets us moving and swaying in unison, but we have to wait until the end for the now legendary “Step On”. Shaun welcomes Bez on stage by shouting “Hello Granddad”, who enters stage right, after just making it just in time for the encores due to a broken down car, was this staged or for real we will probably never know!! There’s a new buzz in the room as everyone surges to the front, Cue the dancer! Bez dances and shakes his maracas as expertly as he always did, before throwing them into the audience for some lucky fan to keep as a souvenir. The song seems to go on forever as we all move as one. After just over an hour the band leave the stage. The shouts for an encore aren’t the loudest,but they return anyway. They give us 2 more songs including the brilliant “Wrote For Luck” before leaving to rapturous applause. Anyone who might have thought this was their swansong or a final payday would be mistaken. On tonight’s evidence they’ll be around a little while longer one thinks.

Happy Mondays
Loose Fit
Kinky Afro
Dennis & Lois
God’s Cop
Judge Fudge
24 Hour Party People
Rave On
Cowboy Dave
Bob’s Yer Uncle
Mad Cyril
Step On

Jelly Bean
Wrote For Luck

Inspiral Carpets
She Comes In The Fall
Directing Traffick
You’re So Good For Me
This Is How It Feels
Dragging Me Dow
“New Song”
Saturn 5

Inspiral Carpets

Happy Mondays

Band Links

Review by Ross Ferrone
Happy Mondays Pictures by Charlie Raven
Inspiral Carpets Pictures & Videos by Dave Chinery (Chinners).