When ‘Step On’ was released back in April 1990 I was one of many 14 year old lads captivated by the Madchester scene headed up by the Roses, Inspirals, Charlatans and Happy Mondays. With the Mondays one of the big talking points was always Bez and his maraca wielding freaky dancing. Dressed in flares, baggy T-shirts and a bucket-hat I would spend many an hour attempting to emulate his dancing but never quite succeeding. Indeed, judging by the moves on show at the so-called local Raves back in the day, very few mastered the moves but it felt good and was something real and memorable and is one of the reasons why I find myself here at Glasgow’s O2 Academy on a Sunday night.
Running into a few familiar faces and even some from my days as a 14 year old, my mood is rather buoyant to say the least! Coupled with the support set by the talented Pete MacLeod I am absolutely buzzing by the time the Happy Mondays take to the stage. ‘Kinky Afro’ gets the gig off to a flyer as the crowd bounce and bob for all their worth. With Bez leading the charge from the front of the stage, it is apparent many 40 year old somethings are still trying unsuccessfully to copy his dance moves. Mirroring the album track listing, ‘God’s Cop’ and ‘Donovan’ follow with the crowd absolutely loving every moment of it. The stage is a busy one with Rowetta also in full flow, both sounding and looking great. With ‘Grandbag’s Funeral’ and ‘Loose Fit’ continuing the feel-good vibe it becomes clear the set-list is reflective of the 10 track album. Despite being 25 years old ‘Loose Fit’ sounds just as good now as it did back in my room when I first played it as a 14 year old.
Throughout the set, lead singer Shaun appears to be happy to hang somewhat in the shadows with Bez commanding the stage and bridging the gap between stage and crowd expertly as he connects the Mondays to their sell-out crowd. Being the sixth date in the current tour, the Mondays are sounding tight and by the time set highpoint ‘Step On’ kicks in melons are well and truly twisting.
Album closer ‘Harmony’ closes out the set before the Mondays return to a rapturous crowd for an encore consisting of fan favourites ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘W.F.L’ ensuring everyone awakes on the Monday morning feeling happy!
Words: Our man in Scotland Bazza Mills