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LIVE: Happy Mondays – Perth, 2 March, 2019

| 4 March 2019 | Reply

LIVE: Happy Mondays – Perth, 2 March, 2019
Astor Theatre, Perth, Western Australia
Reviewed by Brian Dunne
Photography by Damien Crocker

On Saturday night, along with the Ginchmaster as my plus 1, I rocked up to the fabulous Astor Theatre in Mount Lawley to see renowned late ’80s/early ’90s Madchester band, Happy Mondays. I’d had the great good fortune to have lived in Manchester during those heady times and, though I’d never seen the band play there and then, I had certainly heard much about them and naturally felt piqued to catch the act here and now.

As it happens, in the cool upstairs bar at the venue I met Evil E, long time Potato Stars guitar wiz and, in thrall of that happenstance I completely missed whoever the support band were – even to the point of whatever their name is. Soz, and all that.

However, I was not about to miss a moment of the feature act so, beers in hands, GM and I stumbled down the plush Astor stairs to join the heaving expectant crowd of party goers below.

It seems to me that there has been an explosion, or exploitation, in the number of bands from those “good ol’ days” who have of late revived themselves for what GM refers to as a ‘victory lap’, yet so few of whom have made it worthwhile to attend. Stiff Little Fingers immediately come to mind on the positive side, Happy Mondays, hmm? Not so much.

The Astor is an excellent venue and it was as close to sold out as near dammit, all of whom were mad for Happy Mondays. So it seemed as if that fact alone could carry a band so far past their “best by” date to the Hallows of worthy. And so it did. To a point.

Lead singer, Shaun Ryder, looked and sounded puffy with one too many serves of mushy peas. The band were tight enough in all the right places and the backing singer absolutely smashed it. So what was wrong about Happy Mondays? In a word, Bez.

Bez, the band’s celebrated maracas player should, frankly, give up. I like the idea of a group that features a mascot, a superlative dancer-come-maracas player, but if he’d been a necessity at some time in the past, he now looks like an old friend who has scoffed one too many E’s. He seems to have only two, maybe three, dance moves in him, and they all look tired. Indeed, the geezer looks very much like he’s on day release from Graylands.

It is difficult to accurately describe Happy Mondays music very well. I am not sure whether the mud in the mix was the fault of the band or of the mixer, as it swung from spot on to muddled. I’d like to think it down to the mixing desk and it’s operator, rather than the band – that’s my glass-half-full optimism. I turned to the Ginchmaster and asked whether he’d had enough. He nodded affirmative and we bailed with two or three songs to go. I suspect we didn’t miss much.

Shane

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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