Happy Saturdays…

I don’t dance. When I was 10, I feigned an in growing toenail so I didn’t have to do country dancing. 

It is 30 years since Happy Mondays burst out of Manchester, the enfant terrible of the British music scene. As they stride on to the Manchester stage they may be older but they probably aren’t wiser. They still have plenty of swagger though and while the audience is probably more Heart Pills ‘n’ Winter Chills and Backache these days, the band still receive a rousing reception. Indeed, it is a great atmosphere in Leeds Academy all evening.

I don’t dance. When I was 16 I didn’t go to prom, instead staying home to play Championship Manager, solely because I wanted to avoid the dance floor.

The classics still sound, well, classic with ‘Loose Fit’ and ‘Kinky Afro’ leading the way. Shaun Ryder sounds as powerful as ever but it is Rowetta who really carries these tunes. Bez acts as a demented ring leader throughout, exchanging bon mots with Ryder between tracks and just generally living life to the full. The thumping bass line from ‘Hallelujah’ booms and pounds and for a moment there it almost feels like we could be in the Hacienda. Most of us are closer to nine hour party people these days but the song that inspired the brilliant film of the same name is as life affirming as it was back in the 90s.

‘Step On’ is a song that defined a generation and has become weaved into the fabric of the Manchester music scene that reaped so many great bands. It sounds epic here. Leeds Academy isn’t my favourite venue but the Happy Mondays get the best out of it. It is refreshing to see that a band so subversive could still be packing out venues thirty years later.

I don’t dance. When I proposed to my wife in Dublin, one of the proviso’s was that we wouldn’t be having a first dance at the wedding. I don’t dance. I don’t can can. I don’t samba. I didn’t twist again last summer. I don’t shake, rattle or roll. For one glorious night in December however, I saw the Happy Mondays, and I danced all night…

Consider my melon twisted.