Live Review: Happy Mondays, Rock City (26/11/15)

Madchester’s baggy Happy Mondays celebrated the 25th anniversary of their best known album – Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Belly Aches – at Rock City on the 26th of November, packing out the large venue with raucous fans, and proving that, despite their previous comeback failures, they haven’t worn themselves out just yet.

The setlist didn’t stray too much from Pills, with only the encore featuring two tracks from other releases – Madchester Rave On EP‘s ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Wrote For Luck’ from Bummed. Though the gig was intended to honour their third and most popular album, it would have been nice for them to throw in something a bit different, such as work from their most recent 2007 album – Uncle Dysfunktional – or even fundamental Madchester singles such as ‘Lazyitis’, which helped pave the way to the baggy sound.

With the seven band members spread out across the stage, it was hard to know where to look – though naturally, you were most inclined to focus on Bez, as he tied the band together by manically dancing and playing the maracas. He was by far the most energetic, disguising the few noticeable slip ups in lyrics made by lead singer, Shaun Ryder. Apart from Bez though, the Mondays came across as a little tired and flustered. Seeing as the Mondays dragged themselves through the last two failed attempts to reunite, perhaps fatigue is finally catching up with them.

Backing vocalist Rowetta Satchell outdid Ryder with her soulful voice, which was much clearer and polished than his husky, unintelligible, DJ-at-a-wedding style vocals. His muffled patter with the audience throughout was a bit over the top at some points, but it’s clear that he knows how to handle himself on stage and keep the audience’s interest by constantly reminding us of the 90s rave days they are most clearly associated with.

Crystallising the crowd’s disappointment, there was even a lacklustre response to the iconic opening sounds of the band’s famous track ‘Step On’, as the lyric “you’re twisting my melon, man” half-heartedly resonated around the venue. Even with this response, Ryder’s voice was completely submerged in the fans own rendition of the song.

It’s funny how this band is mostly known for a track that they originally covered, adapting it to suit their 60s psychedelic/ dance/ indie style. What’s so interesting about the Mondays is how many different sub genres of music they can take on, though it was hard to extract as many genres from the set of just the one album. Nevertheless, they do know how to put on a good show – and the gig proved that they’ve clearly been forgiven for their repeated make ups and break ups.

Emily Geyerhosz

Emily is currently listening to ‘So Much Love’ by The Enemy

Image: Rob Annis via Flickr

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4 Comments on this post.
  • jonny
    12 December 2015 at 12:31
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    Happy Mondays are an experience and magazines should send people to gigs who were actually there when the band were in their hayday. Please do send someone who has just come out of nappies and who is trying to sound intellectual. Wrong person to review these icons. This review has put me off this magazine

    • jonny
      12 December 2015 at 12:36
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    • Liam Fleming
      13 December 2015 at 17:16
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      With all due respect, as a University magazine, Impact doesn’t have many writers that were there in Happy Monday’s “hayday”. Regardless, this review is about the show on November 26th, not one from their “hayday”. Being put off of a publication simply because you disagree with one review is an interesting decision, but it is your choice. The grammar in the review you so kindly shared is, frankly, dreadful.

  • Emma
    15 December 2015 at 22:59
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    Think Jonny is missing the point of this magazine – Impact is a student magazine that is written by students, the majority of which weren’t around in Happy Monday’s “hayday”. By the way Jonny, please do check that your messages actually make sense before you post. I think this is an unbiased and well written article and it’s a shame Jonny can’t accept a modern viewpoint of this Happy Monday’s gig. Anyway have a good Christmas!! :))))

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