Happy Mondays

The Happy Mondays are a band who need little introduction. They have been making the headlines since they burst onto the Manchester music scene in the 80s for both good and bad reasons. Now they are the latest band riding the nostalgia wave that has so far seen Britpop favourites like Blur, Pulp and The Stone Roses reform for reunion shows. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at the show in Manchester. I’ll admit I was wondering what Bez would do. I perhaps wasn’t expecting the professional and pulled together show that I got.

Happy Mondays

The Arena filled up early due to the popularity of the excellently chosen support band the Inspiral Carpets. A fairly iconic Manchester band during the 80s in their own right with a similar psychedelic sound to the Happy Mondays, the Inspiral Carpets received a warm reception from their hometown crowd, with many of the audience clearly in attendance to relive the ‘Madchester’ days. The standing section of the Arena looked more like a nightclub than a gig in the build-up to the Mondays taking the stage, with many audience members dancing the evening away from the first Inspiral Carpets song.

Happy Mondays

As the interval DJ’s set came to an end and the lights of the Arena lowered, the infamous Bez addressed the crowd announcing the arrival of the Happy Mondays to the Manchester stage 19 years after they were last there. The packed out, mostly older, audience was in high spirits as the band walked onto the platform one by one, Rowetta belting out soaring vocals as Shaun Ryder swaggered over to his microphone. The deafening cheers of the crowd made it clear from that point that the band have managed to hold on to a die-hard fanbase in Manchester at least.

Happy Mondays

Happy Mondays

After all these years, most of the music stands the test of time well; it still sounds fresh and it still makes people dance which is a testament to the quality of songs that the band used to make. Naturally the biggest hits of the evening were 24 Hour Party People, Kinky Afro and Step On. The latter was a genuine joy to watch with Bez and Rowetta dancing around the front of the stage like they could have been in the Hacienda. Shaun Ryder was absolutely the star of this show. His vocals remain strong, more than holding their own alongside the powerhouse voice that Rowetta brings to the table. Shaun also has a charisma and humour that makes him incredibly easy to like. Introducing every song with some kind of anecdote, interviewing the band constantly despite their seeming lack of desire to speak and referring to how happy he is the band is back, makes him a great company for the evening.

Happy Mondays

The most endearing thing about the Happy Mondays is that in this incarnation they seem to be taking nothing for granted. They spent the evening thanking fans for being there and paying to see them again. It’s nice to see some genuine self-awareness from a band that has been around for such a long time. They seem to be having a lot of fun and their loyal fans definitely did. Are the Happy Mondays as good now as they were in the 80s? I can’t answer that question. This gig did make me wish I had been around the first time but still, one thing is for sure; the Happy Mondays still know how to show people a good time.

Happy MondaysHappy Mondays

Set List included: Loose Fit / Kinky Afro / Dennis and Lois / Donovan / God’s Cop / Judge Fudge / 24 Hour Party People / Cowboy Dave / Hallelujah / Bob’s Yer Uncle / Holiday / Mad Cyril / Step On / W.F.L.

Gig Review by Nic Jones

Gig Photography by Jason Broadhurst

6 Responses to “Happy Mondays + Inspiral Carpets @ Manchester Arena, UK – 5th May 2012”

  1. Wayne Says:

    Loving the Bez one and the one above of Shaun. Sounds like you bohth will have had a great time. Woohoo! :)

  2. Ruizana Says:

    This was the complete setlist? Too short! No ‘Tart Tart’? – what a stab! Only 2 songs of Bummed: no ‘Performance, no ‘Lazyitis’.. With Rowetta they can’t play almost nothing from their 2 first albums. Such a pity! Nevertheless, I’m going to see them live.

  3. Bianca Says:

    No, the set list featured in the review is some of the songs that HM performed at their gig, not all of them. When and where are you seeing Happy Mondays? Come back and tell us what you thought… :)

  4. seeyouatthefront.com » Happy Mondays Says:

    […] Please read the review at gigjunkies […]

  5. Jason Broadhurst: Happy Mondays @ Manchester Arena – 05/05/2012 | Live music photography Blog Says:

    […] You can also read the review of the show at Gigjunkies […]

  6. Review for Gig Junkies – Happy Mondays | NavigatorNic Says:

    […] Happy Mondays + Inspiral Carpets @ Manchester Arena, UK – 5th May 2012 […]

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