So, another esoteric venue for the lads meant a fraught 2 hour hike up the M6 from the 'Pool straight from work. (What is it with these mid-week dates, Nigel? At least Manchester in Feb is on a Friday!). After conquering the fearsome Carlisle one way system we arrived at 8-15pm to find a queue of mildly disgruntled punters being refused entrance due to a late sound check!! Once inside, though, The Brickhouse proved a fine small venue, perfect for the away fans.
2 supports were advertised, but only the brilliantly monikered Cosmic Cat actually played, displaying an entertaining if bemusing slide show of Caravaggio paintings, puking princesses and other bizarre images to the attentive if rather distant crowd.
Just before 9-30 a small gaggle of Dukla Pragues congregated near the cushioned stage and the boys emerged piece-meal, with a tune up mutating into New Order's "Ceremony" before the gig proper. Sorry the set list is totally out of order, but here goes:-
Joy Division OG
Blue Badge Abuser (gets better every gig!)
24 hr Garage (94p + 78p - correct me if wrong!)
Look Dad no Tunes
Leaden Pall (pleasant surprise!)
Song from Under the Floorboards (Magazine AGAIN!)
Dukla Prague (dedicated to the Bloke in the Hamburg top!)
Another brilliant if slightly shorter set, but with a 2 hour drive and an early start there were no complaints from us about the 11am curfew. The crowd were the most restrained I've ever seen at an HMHB gig, with a couple of Die-hard Duklas trying to get some life going at the front, but to no avail except for a late rally in Extra Time. No Caravan guitar, and Nigel did try to give us CAMRA man but Ken wasn't having it! Brilliant moment when Nigel called a halt to an intro as someone was playing the chords out of sequence, only to find it was HIM!! And the i-pod shuffle in 24 hr Garage is now an established classic (Foreigner? Air Supply? ZZ Top? J Geils Band? Anyone remember any more they can confess to knowing?). Bold stab at Magazine's "Floorboards" let down by (otherwise reasonable) PA and not a patch on their "Shot ...Both Sides"
So, another mystical stop on the HMHB odyssey was over. Can't make London, but the Manchester gig should be a classic, so I'll see you all there next year.