Music review: Happy Mondays, Barrowland, Glasgow

The sound and delivery may have been a touch shoddy at times, but the Happy Mondays got by on charm and audience affection at this Glasgow show, writes Fiona Shepherd

Happy Mondays, Barrowland, Glasgow ***

Happy Mondays may not have been the most rigorous of custodians of their own self-styled Madchester legacy, but what they lack in discipline they make up for in spirit. Their profile has waxed and waned over the years as the comedy double act of frontman Shaun Ryder and dancer Bez have diverted to reality TV and taken their eye off the musical ball.

Consequently, a Happy Mondays show can be a shouty, shambolic affair and thus it was at this Barrowland gig, the first of three on their Been There Done That tour which is almost a mini Nineties nostalgia festival with support slots by both Stereo MCs and their Mancunian peers Inspiral Carpets to bolster the line-up. As for their own line-up, Happy Mondays remain surprisingly stable with Ryder paying unsentimental tribute to his late brother Paul by introducing his replacement Mikey Shine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Their 75-minute set started strongly with Kinky Afro, featuring Ryder’s irreverent opening lines and Rowetta’s soul holler, while the following God’s Cop demonstrated their warped lysergic side. The sleazy but irresistible trawl of Loose Fit and its cool celebration of baggy was enhanced no end by Rowetta’s contribution, while the groove-orientated psychedelia of Mad Cyril sounded like a northern Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

The sound and delivery was a touch shoddy at times, with the band getting by on charm and audience affection, but they hit all the requisite career markers. Hallelujah was segued unexpectedly with Steve Miller’s Fly Like An Eagle, while these days the John Cale-produced 24 Hour Party People is celebrated for its sentiment more than its musical inventiveness but remains an exotic cut in their catalogue. The gleeful Step On represented their commercial peak while their signature encore Wrote For Luck was a reminder of how the whole crazy trip started.

Related topics: