The return to Sheffield was a predictable triumph - what a great venue the Boardwalk is. An inevitable sell out, it was a tight squeeze at the bar, but there was plenty of room for a good leap at the front. And a spot-on sound system played us the delights of the Fall and Wedding Present before the gig, whilst we exited to the Teardrops "Bouncing Babies" - top marks.
Calvin Party warmed us up again tonight, marked by what was hopefully an ironic "F**ck off you 4 eyed speccy tw*t", which was deftly deflected by the recipient vocalist ("I'm a c**t not a tw*t). Another decent set, and well received.
After some plugging-in problems, Nigel finally got us started with "Restless Legs". A stormer of a set saw the return of "Garage People" after a short absence, and continued the trend of playing the traditional encores mid-set (Trumpton, Joy Division, AOR, No Tunes, Trad Arr etc). Perhaps the biggest revelation was the use of Victoria on trumpet and(?) tuba for the all too rarely played delights of "Dog on a Pitch" and "Gubba", as well as an intro for an encored "Chatteris". "I Think We're Alone now" made a welcome return as tonight's cover, whilst the boys wrapped unconventionally with "Wrong Grave", including the revelation that Ken owns the Complete Clangers on DVD!
There was a touch of poignancy about "Fred Titmus", dedicated to a fallen comrade who should have been in the mosh-pit that night, but this was a celebratory evening with a good-natured crowd thankfully lacking some of the nastier elements that have marred more recent gigs.
The new songs sound solid (Blue Badge, Bickering and Yahoo Chess all featured again tonight - best line -"Not long now 'til Lollipop Men are called Darren" - genius!), and even when Nigel forgot his lines his understated humour saw them through, with the only bum note being a mangled "Bob Todd" (the otherwise superb Neil needs to sort out a new bass line!)
After a fraught return to the "Pool over the Snake Pass (thanks to bleedin' Tom-Tom) we can now look forward to Nottingham and Ulverston, and hopefully the new record will be with us soon.