WORDS AND IMAGES DESH KAPUR
Saturday was going to be a good day, I was covering Madchester legends InspiralCarpets at their homecoming gig at Manchester’s iconic Albert Hall and whilst their star may not have burnt as brightly as the other two bands in the holy trinity of Madchester ie The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays, their importance to that scene/movement can never be underestimated.
So, arriving at The Albert Hall nice and early, to catch the buzz and flavour of the evening there was already a feeling of excitement in the air and this was 7:00 pm and the Inspirals weren’t on till 9:00 pm.
As I looked around the venue the amount of Adidas trainers, Italian sportswear and bucket hats being worn. The sight conjured up visions of the original Madchester scene. Except this queue would most likely have been outside legendary Manchester Club the Hacienda, but to coin an Inspiral carpets phrase it was, ‘cool as fuck!’
But, before we get to the Inspirals, we have the Stanleys a band from the Northwest, Wigan to be exact, a town that is starting to develop its own vibe and indie scene, and the Stanleys are tipped to be the next cab off the rank,
The Stanleys are made up of vocalist Tom Concannon, guitarist Jake Dorsman, bassist Harry Ivory and drummer and singer Rob Hilton
And as they take to the stage to the sounds of The Mike Flowers’s Pop version of the Oasis classic “Wonderwall” they have an air of confidence that you would attribute to more seasoned bands. The Stanleys have a Britpop vibe, but there is an originality to it, which is what makes them stand out, the band have an ear for a melody, a big chorus and all underpinned with a sort of lush Jonny Marr (The Smiths) guitar stylings, and tonight it was all served up in a tight punchy set,
So as the stage was being turned around for the Inspirals the now fully packed Albert Hall was starting to get loud. The DJ for the night Sweetmore, was playing indie banger after indie banger increasing the anticipation with every track he played. When it was time for The Inspiral Carpets, the music stopped, the stage went black, and images started to flicker on the backdrop as the band took the stage. The whole of the Albert Hall erupted for their hometown late 80s/ 90’s indie heroes.
Clint Boon sits behind the instantly recognisable Farfisa organ, the pulpit from behind which Clint Boon preachers his musical genius. Graham Lambert takes his spot stage right, new drummer Kev Clark the replacement for original stickman Craig Gill after his tragic passing away a few years back. Stephen Holt follows and confidently strides to the front of the stage, hands behind his back, looking out smiling as he takes it all in.
The whole venue feels like it’s been drinking red bull all day, the energy is so high you can almost feel it like static electricity as it connects everyone in the room.
As the familiar drum pattern of “Joe” starts, the noise from the crowd is deafening, so much so you can hardly hear the brilliant jangly guitar of Graham as it comes in. To be honest, this is how it was all night long, it was hands aloft energy from start to finish as the band played through their back catalogue of indie classics
This night, was a brilliant nostalgic trip down the psychedelic trippy world of Madchester at its finest. Songs like the emotive “Two Worlds Collide,” “This Is How It Feels,” and “Move” still stand up, and are a testament to the quality of the songwriting from the Inspirals.
The Inspirals leave the stage, the same way they entered it, to a room full of love and leaving the crowd mooing for more and they were more than happy to provide. The encore produced the most poignant moment of the night as images of original drummer Craig Gill played on the backdrop. The band was joined on stage by Craig Gill’s son Levon, who was greeted with a standing ovation. It was so beautifully emotional, the band in their hometown, with their hometown fans celebrating the magical man Graig Gill, whilst having his son play the drums, for some fans it was too much and I saw tears in the crowd.
But there is only one way to end a night with the Inspiral Carpets and that’s “Saturn 5”. this song is baggy, its Madchester and basically just brilliant, and what a way to end a brilliant evening,
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My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.