TITP2012: Happy Mondays entertain T's 24 Hour Party People

Happy Mondays: Taxi to Perth please.
Happy Mondays: Taxi to Perth please.© Drew Farrell

Declining all press at the Glasgow date of their recent live tour, Happy Mondays were a T must to find out what the fuss was about, on this, their fourth incarnation.

Continuing the T in the Park delve back into the Manchester acid house scene of the late 80s, that The Stone Roses started on Saturday, Happy Monday's return was an altogether much lesser profile affair, and took place late afternoon on the NME stage.

A result of their much more shambolic reputation, but pulling in the crowd nonetheless, Happy Mondays put on a performance that made the crowd laugh more than dance, and they danced a lot.

Looking like the cast of The Full Monty, or a similar scene featuring a job centre queue, the ageing rockers are much less stylised than their Madchester mates. With the leader of their mob, Shaun Ryder, resembling Frank Butcher, rather than Pete Mitchell, in his aviator sunglasses, his constant rabble over the instrumentals of the band sounded like an acid-house remix, where the smooth instrumental vibe, typical of that scene, had been merged with the pre-recorded tales of a taxi driver in his cab.

Fitting the aching Sunday crowd, many of them still too tipsy to realise their various mud-related injuries, 24 Hour Party People saw Ryder freestyle, with an F-word thrown in every four words or so for good measure, in typical atonal foghorn style.

Focusing on the instrumental element, Happy Mondays were actually impressively together, and recreated that signature laid-back sound easily when backing vocalist, Rowetta Satchell, or, 'her off of The X Factor', took over the mic. These moments were rare, and the vocal was generally over-powered by Ryder, who sounded like a drunken dad doing karaoke, with his mouth too close to the microphone.

Rambling on between their tracks with no filter, the set was a bit This Is Your Life, where each track was introduced by name, the date of release mentioned alongside the album name, and Ryder's honest opinion on it- "I just love this set, I love the f****** 80's". I think I might have heard him ranting about emos at one point too, but I can't be 100% sure.

Hallelujah kept the crowd moving with Ryder's narration focusing on his bass-player brother, Paul Ryder, a constant source of entertainment for Shaun throughout the set. Referring to the track, "This is when we were at out most passionate…but in whose room? My room, your room, our kid's room? Our kid was in every room…with his wife." The rest of the band simply ignored these outbursts.

With Bez being let loose again near the end of their set, Step On had the crowd as delirious as the onstage antics, with Bez pogoing, then sending his limbs in opposite directions as he treadmilled the stage. 

Unsurprisingly, Happy Mondays were entertaining for all the wrong reasons, but at least they gave a weary crowd a laugh as they neared the mud-stained finish line of T.

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