“How About You Set The Scene?”
Sept 2 2002
By Mel Cicero
Arthur’s words, at the Birmingham show last night,… but that is pretty much what mike asked of me. I said ‘you really want me to be official diary person? I can’t review! I’m known for being crap at it”… but mike said that setting the scene would be just fine. Ok, when I go to shows I go to Get Stoned.. Get right into the middle of the music..and generally get down with my bad self (and any other unfortunate people who happen to be near me.) I’m always the one who goes away not remembering the setlist. I guess I could take a steno pad… but that’s not very rock roll. Hey, those who can, party. Those who can’t, review. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Having said that, this show was easy to review.. cause it was just fabulous. Mike said it was his best show for a long while.. and I’d second him on that. While he’s at the mercy of some evil bacteria and aint up to writing his diaries.. He was still no slouch on that 335 last night and no one would have guessed he was ill. Man, can I just say everyone played brilliant? Even though I said that last time. But more so this time. It’s been a long tour for the guys and I know everyone needs a rest, but Arthur and the band are just really hotting up.
I’m sticking to my proud record of managing to get lost every time I attend a love show.. But this time it was just driving round Birmingham city centre for an hour until my pride got the better of me and I asked some skateboarders. They were very nice and knew the way to the academy… but they gave me directions in skateboard language.. And I don’t speak fluent skateboard. “Just thru that gulley then you come to a long ramp…” they said. Not feeling confident I asked for landmarks. “Well first is MacDonald’s. Then threes a burger king. And when you get to the kfc then you’re nearly there!” he finished triumphantly. I embarked on my fast food chain tour nervously. Foiled at the first hurdle. No ‘ramp’ to be seen. I walked up the main pedestrians street, and it was only after a homeless guy gave me more directions that I realised I had been on the ‘ramp’ all the time. You see. To me it’s a pedestrian’s urban thoroughfare… or a street. But to them it’s a skateboard ramp. ah. Next time ill ask the homeless guy first. They were right about the fast food places though. Unusual to meet someone more obsessed with food than mike randle. And even though mike can only open his mouth less than a centimetre at the moment.. I can report that he can still do serious damage to a pizza. Anyway my own getting lost paled into insignificance once I heard of the band’s navigational perils.. Glenn povey took an hour to drive them from their hotel to the venue. It was a ten-minute walk folks.
The academy had some particularly stupid security people who almost insisted on searching my bag, (yikes!) and wouldn’t let mike backstage. “Yeah, but you just saw me onstage, right?” grinned mike charmingly at the dour short plump blond brummie woman. “Ahh.. But I’ve been on the door all night” she replied. With a you-aint-catching-me-out-sunshine look. The venue was one of those divey tiny dark rooms that I tend to dig. There were 600 people crammed in a place the size of my living room, with a tiny triangle shaped stage shoved in the corner. The crowd was predominantly and unusually young, and the cramped up sweaty vibe made it feel like some sleazy little punk gig. Which of course at times it was. The fans were wild and there was plenty of yelling various approvals after (and between) numbers. Arthur was really digging his reception and was in the best form I’ve seen him.. Getting off also I think on the bands great performance and doing his cute little Arthur dance with his tambourine and knee up in the air he was so fine. You couldn’t take your eyes off him. I couldn’t care less if he forgets the words to she come in colours. “nah,, we aint playing that one” he said.. after a second attempt ended in chaos. but they did.. and how. I could tell you more.. but after one number I was so overcome I forgot to clap… and that’s how ill remember it. Arthur teased us with signed dc leaving it right till nearly the end.. mr crowd control behind me was saying “he wont play it will he?”. I assured him he would and passed him a joint to smoke during it when they finally did. I have to say mikes guitar solo in signed dc was fucking fantastic last night.. in fact mikes playing was nothing short of extraordinary all night. its nice to see people who haven’t seen the show before being amazed and blown away by the way the guys play the songs. oh yeah, back to “mr crowd control”. now anyone who keeps passing me his or her bottle of navy rum is ok by me.. but he reckoned he had a well honed and practised skill, in that alone could dictate how any gig went… he could ‘make it or break it’ if you like. ‘I know what to shout and when to shout it’ he assured me.. and demonstrated for me. “see!!!” he grinned, as he gestured proudly at the fevered front rows whistling and screaming their homage’s to Arthur. to be honest it didn’t look like this Birmingham crowd needed any encouragement. well I certainly didn’t. nice one guys… this going to be hard to beat. but my car broke down on the way home.. so I might not be at the Bristol show goddamn.. but if I am then my rambling will be here. sorry about that…