Monday, 19 November 2018
Black Grape at Gloucester Guildhall 15 / 11 / 2018
Back to my favourite music venue for the first time in far too long to experience the dance / rock loopiness of Black Grape. I'd never seen the boys from the Grape before but had hugely enjoyed seeing Shaun Ryder's "other" band, The Happy Mondays, a couple of years ago. My good friend Glenn ( Borrowed Time superstar ) kindly gave me a lift into G-Town ( as I believe the youngsters call it ) and we found ourselves in a strangely half-empty Guildhall. The underwhelming support set by a clearly phoning-it-in DJ didn't help.
About ten minutes before the band were due to come on there was a last minute surge and the hall became about 3/4 full. Shaun, Kermit and the band ambled out onto the stage and the party started with In The Name Of The Father ( "and the Holy f###ing Spirit, amen" ) and a couple of new songs from their recent album, Pop Voodoo. Shaun wasn't quite sure where he was at the start: there was some debate as to whether Gloucester was in the North ( er, no... ) or the West. They decided we were honourary Northerners and played ( of course ) A Big Day In The North. Kermit then went on to chat about what he called the "noble art of shop-lifting" and to bemoan the fact that not enough people do that any more...
Kermit and Shaun are a great double-act, constantly taking the piss out of each other and generally acting like a couple of naughty, overgrown schoolboys. Many songs were preceded by autobiographical facts such as "We wrote this song while smoking crack in a cupboard in LA" and debates about whether Shaun should take off his puffer-jacket or not. ( I was melting from the heat in my T-shirt so God only knows how he felt! ) Luckily, the music was as as hot as the atmosphere - the new songs went down well and the crowd went mad ( well, mad for a Gloucester audience ) to such groovy classics as Reverend Black Grape, Tramazi Parti and the peerless Kelly's Heroes. Glenn and I had a pretty good spot down the front so had a great view of the action and had our ears blasted by the sound - I think the ringing has just stopped after about three days!
Finishing with a funktastic Shake Well Before Opening and a titanic encore of Little Bob ( "Boooom! Bang!" ), the two front-men left the stage, whilst the band played some outrageously over the top heavy rock, with the guitarist hanging over the crowd-barrier, much to the disgust of the glaring security men.
A fun gig then, although I'd like to see them with a slightly more engaged audience. Black Grape are touring well into next year so we may do it all again somewhere else...