Having looked forward to this gig for weeks on end the night came upon us with great haste, and so we returned to the venue where people just sit on the floor sporadically and unnecessarily, but this wasn't going to spoil the night, oh no.
Upon entering the Hop and Grape I came across several people off the e-group which is always nice and as was mentioned a few weeks ago everybody is your friend at a HMHB gig. So we entered the venue proper and it filled steadily until approx. 9.20 when the place really did begin to fill and a heady atmosphere was created. There was to say the least an air of anticipation due to the lack of support band (no bad thing there) and the presence of several video cameras and people in smart suits - could they be signing for a major!?!?!?!? Doubt it! although on tonight's showing they would be foolish not to!
So enter the band stage right, well Neil, Ken and Carl to a rather vociferous drum roll - supplied by the sound engineer - then enter the masked Nigel. He was sporting a long blue "Flashers" coat with SLIPKNOT across the back (and something else but I couldn't read it!) on his head he had a mask on his face and one on the back of his head. He stood statuesque eyes closed raised his hand with the devil symbol and the tape rolled "Zulu" blared out for a good 2 minutes as the rest of the band just stood and waited. Surely they were not playing to the cameras! Anyway it was a superb way to enter and made a pleasant change from "are we ready?" Indeed the playlist was instructing the band to "...turn tape off after 'arnihialated'". And so what followed from such a brilliant entrance was a purely superb set, which of course kicked off with the brilliance that is "Who the fucking hell are Slipknot?" which is growing in popularity and splendour gig by gig.
The set was as follows:
Zulu. "...turn tape off after "arnihialated"
R the mtn
Deep house *
The songs with * were not actually played (well I don't think they were!) but Uffington Wassail certainly was in there place, thanks to a call from the crowd. RIP and Caroline were new ones to me but they were great songs. A notable absence from recent weeks has been Rons 22 (think you may have seen the last of this - Gez) this looked being there for some time, but never mind there were better songs in its place.
From the start there were three of us at the front moshing away but come Titmus the moshpit had grown, and continued to do so song by song until the end, in fact the whole pit was pogoing in time at one point - Christ! But then the unthinkable happened the Elmo rucksack from Ashton returned to haunt me the eyes were there again glaring at me as though I had done something wrong, it may be right!
The set was a fine array (although still no M6-ster) of new and old stuff glued together with the usual little ditties and several new ones that were preached from a sheet of paper by the bard himself. Look dad really set the place alight and I think that this was the best live performance of Look Dad EVER! along the lines of PRS in Sheffield....for those who were there.
It was such a night that we even had people trying to stage dive, well 2 guys one made it good, the other OK but for the final attempt everyone moved!
I have often wondered what Nigel does for a living well this question was answered tonight, as we walked down Oxford Street we passed "Blackwell's" book shop; this answered the question and also gave reason for the "Bard of Birkenhead's" mastery with words.
Tonight was like a marriage there was something old (Venus, Trumpton, Best things, Titmus), something new (IRK etc.), something borrowed (Worried man, Caroline (Carter?)), something blue (Nigel's flasher coat, "View From" running top (which is NOT a shell suit!) and his "airflow" Ron hill top).
The band did us proud and really gave a great show what a way to end a fantastic year of HMHB gigs!
Having taken my mum and girlfriend along this was a great one for them to see a real show of instrumental brilliance, who knows they may go again!
Our Neil will be very annoyed at missing this as it was truly BRILLIANT.
Roll on Scotland!?!?!?!?!?