15th Nov 2015
In the mid-80s, Salford gave birth to a little-known band who played a pivotal battle-of-the-bands night at the infamous Hacienda watched by an enthused Tony Wilson. Of course, they were soon signed to Factory Records and went on to become a beacon of rave culture, a band whose unique blend of funk, Chicago house and psychedelia mixed into some hallucinogenic lyrics would establish them as an iconic band of the acid house movement.
In 1990 The Happy Mondays released the ‘Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches’ album which firmly stamped itself as one of the most influential albums of the early 1990s, and to celebrate 25 years of this platinum selling third album, the band are currently embarking on a Mad For It 18-night tour.
Packing out the O2 Academy in a sea of Fred Perrys and Adidas stripes, a carnage of excitable, burnt –out faces bounced along in a chorus of classic anthems, looking like they had perhaps seen one too many Hacienda parties in their day. Rowetta, took to the stage looking forever young and with sublime and sassy presence, quickly joined by the rest of the band to an outrageous cheer, as they belted straight into a mix-up of Kinky Afro, God’s Cop and Donovan.
The young team were bouncing along with as much enthusiasm as the original Baggys, showing that The Mondays are still pulling fresh new appreciation with their new material and have remained ever youthful and current. Rock On was met with outrageous cheers, Bez was, as ever, a beacon of entertainment and a bundle of pure joy, pulling off his classic moves to a delighted crowd, shoulders wide, and arms straight, maracas flying to his infallible energy. They topped off an altogether superb night with a double encore beginning with the classic Hallelujah and ending with shear delighted carnage.
Having seen them perform in 2012 at the same venue with the mighty Inspiral Carpets for support, then a disappointingly poor performance by an awkward and cringe worthy, has-been band, I was not expecting much more from tonight’s gig. However, despite a mediocre support from Pete Mcleod, I was stunned with The Monday’s performance. Gone were the poor timing, cringe worthy vocals, and dreary appearance, and instead they were polished, tight and professional, an altogether different band putting on a top class show. The sound quality was top notch from the O2 this time round, and their enthusiasm matched in unison to the bouncing atmosphere, Shaun has scrubbed up impressively, apparently keeping true to his word “Great to be doing 25 years of Pills ’N’ Thrills… Here’s to another 25 years. I’m going to remember it this time…”. Certainly tonight was memorable for everyone. They are most definitely back to their former glory with some shiny new tunes and an interesting mixed audience. It looks like The Mondays are not quite over yet. Indeed, the stuff of legends.
Reviewer: Teri Welsh