REVIEW: Happy Mondays, Liverpool O2 Academy, 7th Dec 2013

Manchester’s ultimate party band the Happy Mondays led Liverpool’s O2 Academy on a euphoric dance by marking the 25th anniversary of their hugely characteristic album Bummed. We sent our reviewer Shaun McCoy along to join the party…

There was a huge buzz of excitement throughout the venue because the album is such a superb work of music. There was quite a cross section of people who were chomping at the bit to see a band who were cultural phenomenon in the late 80s and early 90s.

Shaun Ryder and Bez are larger than life figures who still resonate with an audience, alongside the vocal prowess of the gorgeous Rowetta and other original members – Paul Ryder (bass), Garry Whelan (drums), Mark Day (guitar) and Paul Davis (keyboard).

The combination of surreal lyrics and infectious funky music still make them a top live act to see. Midway through Shaun Ryder said “Have we got an armchair for Bez? He’s 50 year-old granddad!” But Bez still has the energy as does the music to keep the adoring fans captivated. There were so many standout tracks that it’s hard to pin down just a few.

Wrote For Luck is probably the most immensely anthemic track on the album. Whipping up a frenzy of ‘freaky dancing’ a la Bez style. Although Mad Cyril and Do It Better are equally frantically funky and frenetic.

Lazyitis has an abundance of string styles – sitar mixed with bending slide guitar as Shaun delivers lyrics that still stun to great effect while featuring a small part of Ticket To Ride.

Three more classic tracks followed during the encore – Hallelujah, Kinky Afro and Step On which carried on a massive rave that had engulfed the audience from the start. Amazing gig, cosmic band. Honourable mention for superb support from Sulk and The Sunshine Underground. Roll on the Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches anniversary tour.

WORDS BY: Shaun McCoy

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