- 18 Aug 17
Having managed to negotiate entry despite “misplaced” press credentials - “Do you know who I am?!?” roared Hot Press, with no little amount of histrionics and gesticulating, “I know you’re an idiot” the steadfast gatekeeper’s eyes seemed to scream – my ire was immediately cooled by a refreshing drink, and the choice cuts that Leeds/Drumlish/Mullingar superstar, Michael Cronin, was spinning as tonight’s DJ warm up. Black Grape, The Pogues and the Sex Pistols all got an airing, but special mention must go to Joy Division’s atonal moanfest ‘Transmission’. Bear in mind where we were. This always-entertaining series of gigs leads to some strange sights. Although the Mondays faithful make up the vast majority of tonight’s large crowd, there was a smattering of people who had come for the race meet alone, and decided to stop on their way to the car parks to see what was going on. One mature couple, decked out in their most dazzling finery, and more than a couple of sherries into the game, seemed genuinely shocked at Ian Curtis’ caterwauling. Their wide-eyed reaction spoke of a realisation that the barbarians were well past the gate.
The Mondays open up with the hard to beat combination of ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Kinky Afro’ and the first thing you notice is how good the sound is, especially Paul Ryder’s bass. He’s on form throughout, and should take home all the medals. The other required components are present and correct – Shaun Ryder grins like a man who knows something you don’t, Rowetta’s tuneful foghorn of a voice could be still be employed warning ships off rocks, and Bez, doing his man-having-trouble-negotiating-the-escalator dance, is the perpetual motion machine, violating several thermodynamic laws.
The set list is mostly drawn from 1990’s raggedy masterpiece, Pills ‘N’ Thrills and Bellyaches, so we get a joyous ‘Denis & Lois’, a sinuous ‘Donovan’, and the mass freaky dancing inducing hat-trick of ‘Loose Fit’, ‘Bob’s Yer Uncle’, and ‘Holiday’. My apologies to Mrs. Ryder, but her husband coming over all sexy during ‘Bob’s…’ is still a bit unsettling. Mind you, as your Mam used to insist, there’s someone for everyone. ‘Step On’ could, unfortunately, have been retitled ‘Pissed On’ but the downpour doesn’t stop the party.