Happy Mondays – Live Review – Zebedee’s Yard, Hull

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Happy Mondays – Live Review

Zebedee’s Yard, Hull, August 2018

by Victoria Holdsworth

If you thought that indie was dead, then you would be wrong. It’s an early evening start for what is one of the hottest tours in the country right now. A solid hour and a half opening set from Peter Hook and The Light kept the crowd happy before Happy Mondays took to the stage.

The energy in Zebedee’s Yard – which is effectively a car park in Hull – was alive with a certain buzz and anticipation that I had not felt in a long time at a gig. I was genuinely excited for the Mondays to take to the stage, for what is essentially a greatest hits tour. Tonight you cannot deny that nostalgia takes them a certain amount of the way; however, the songs have remained steadfast and relevant as ever, and by the time the first chord of ‘Loose Fit’ is struck, the yard is tightly packed and everyone is dancing as they amble out on to the stage, with that irrefutable swagger.

happy mondays play hull zebedees yard poster

Some of the bigger hits come up early in the set, and to be honest with you I did try and keep track of the set list, however it was hampered greatly by the fact that the band didn’t seem to know which song they were playing from one to the next. But it did not bother the crowd one bit, such is the adoration for this band of psychedelic, indie-dance legends.

It’s fair to say that the Uncle Dysfunktional of time has taken its toll on most of the members of the band, however there is one gem they possess which has remained unchanged and shines as fresh and as bright as ever, and that is the immensely talented Rowetta.

“Groove fest”

She was certainly giving it her all tonight, and whilst it was hard to choose any favourites from the set with classics such as ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Rave On’ and ‘Bob’s Yer Uncle’, it was ’24 Hour Party People’ that nearly caused the whole of the east coast to erupt! I’m still singing it now on a loop.

Throughout the first half of the set, Bez was his usual enthusiastic, maraca-marauding self, but by the second half he had slowed down considerably, much to the amusement of Shaun, who referred to his best mate’s dancing as creaky rather than freaky these days.

The whole band seems much more comfortable in their skins, and what would normally have been a raucous affair, is slightly more subdued, yet nothing lacks in their performance.

Shaun spends most of the second half of the set still trying to deduce which decade each of his songs are from. “This is another 80s one. No wait, it’s a 90s b-side.”

‘Kinky Afro’ was a complete groove fest, seeing Rowetta own the stage with her whips, and producing some soulful, soaring vocal licks that the late Aretha Franklin would have approved. The crowd chanted back the famous line “Son, I’m thirty, only went with yer mother cos she’s dirty” as the tidal wave of vigour and delight take over the crowd again.

happy mondays live review zebedee's yard hull august 2018 group

“Dancing all night”

There are no pills and bellyaches tonight, but definitely lots of thrills and the band are even joined on stage by all of their children, for a dance and maraca shake with the oldies.

It was a fantastic gig that marked three decades since, Squirrel and G-Man, Twenty Four Hour Party People, Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out), to give the album its full, memorable title – but you would never guess that those songs were almost a lifetime away.

There was still time for an encore too and just when it seemed time was running out, ‘Step On’, the Happy Mondays’ iconic signature tune was played to a raucous reception. Shaun telling Bez that he talked so hip, he was twisting his melon man, then expecting Bez to say “Call The Cops” – however, it was a somewhat delayed response from a knackered Bez and provided a comedy gold moment between the pair, much to the amusement of Rowetta. As the set finally came to a close, all that was left for the Mondays to do was to take further applause and cheers from their adoring fans.

Every single person in the crowd knew every lyric and never stopped dancing all night. It was a cracking evening to enter the weekend with. Seems everyone is still mad for The Mondays.

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