HAPPY MONDAYS – BRIGHTON DOME CONCERT HALL 07.11.19
The Mondays were a key part of the iconic ‘Madchester’ music scene and rave culture in the late 80’s and early 90’s whose peers included the Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets, The Charlatans, 808 State et al. Much of that scene was set around the revered if somewhat infamous Haçienda Club (FAC51) which closed in 1997 and was sadly demolished five years later. The music however lives on, as do many of the bands from that era who are still going strong all these years later. It’s fair to say that it was bands like the Happy Mondays who paved the way for the Britpop ‘Cool Britannia’ era that would follow.
Tonight’s lineup consisted of no less than five of the six (1980) founder members, with those being Shaun Ryder (lead vocals), Mark Berry aka “Bez” (percussion/dancing), Paul Ryder, brother of Shaun (guitar), Mark Day (bass) and Gary Whelan (drums). Whilst original keyboardist Paul David departed the ranks in 2015. The other two remaining members of stage this evening were Rowetta Idah (vocals) who joined the ranks in 1990 and new boy Dan Broad (keyboards/samples/programming/musical director) who joined in 2016.
The assembled audience, whilst slightly less colourful than their legion of fans ‘back in the day’, were certainly in the mood to party. Amongst the late forty-somethings who loved that Madchester scene, there was a new generation of fans in attendance too, all eager to sample the Monday’s unique brand of strident vocals and pulsating riffs and of course, Bez’s legendary dancing. Considering Bez is now 55, he threw his trademark shapes throughout the set, moving left to right across stage and back again replete with maracas in hand – the crowd lapping it up.
The set opened with a blockbusting rendition of their UK no 5 hit ‘Kinky Afro’ from the iconic ‘Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches ’album which set the tone for a top evening as the Mondays blasted through their back catalogue, the sound echoing from every area of the Dome’s vast cavern, just as it would have reverberated around the Haçienda thirty years ago.
‘Loose Fit’ (once banned by the BBC) featured dynamic vocals from Rowetta that were a feature of the evening, proving that time has not diminished the power of her voice. ‘Step On’ received a rapturous reception as you’d expect, the crowd mad for a bit of “You’re twistin’ my melon man”. However, the best was saved until near the end with the triumphant ‘Hallelujah’ and funky trance-like encore ‘Wrote For Luck’.
No doubt about it, these guys have still got it. I didn’t quite have the energy left for the Happy Mondays after-party ‘All Back to Bez’s’ at Brighton’s seafront Hideout which was scheduled to finish at 3am, but I’m absolutely certain it would have been one helluva party.
Happy Mondays setlist:
‘Kinky Afro’ (found on 1990 ‘Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches’ album)
‘Performance’ (found on 1988 ‘Bummed’ album)
‘Donovan’ (found on 1990 ‘Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches’ album)
‘God’s Cop’ (found on 1990 ‘Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches’ album)
‘Loose Fit’ (found on 1990 ‘Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches’ album)
‘Dennis And Lois’ (found on 1990 ‘Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches’ album)
‘Rave On’ (found on 1989 ‘Madchester Rave On’ EP)
‘Bob’s Yer Uncle’ (found on 1990 ‘Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches’ album)
‘Clap Your Hands’ (found on 1989 ‘Madchester Rave On’ EP)
‘Tart Tart’ (found on 1987 ‘Squirrel And G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)’ album)
‘Mad Cyril’ (found on 1988 ‘Bummed’ album)
‘24 Hour Party People’ (found on 1987 ‘24 Hour Party People’ single)
‘Hallelujah’ (found on 1989 ‘Madchester Rave On’ EP)
‘Step On’ (found on 1990 ‘Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches’ album)
‘Wrote For Luck’ (found on 1988 ‘Bummed’ album)
More information on the Happy Mondays HERE.
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