Image Credit: Keith Ainsworth
Happy Mondays formed in 1980 and have remained to be active on and off for 35 years. Now the Mondays’ appearances are categorised as incarnations – 2012 up until now being their 4th. The band were a key part of the Madchester music scene which developed in Manchester from the late 1980s to the early ‘90s.
In my opinion, Liverpool’s O2 Academy is by far one of the best music venues and has been home to most of my favourite concerts. The seemingly small venue contains two rooms (The O2 Academy and The O2 Academy 2) of which both have their own perks. This gig was particularly special to me for many reasons. I had ordered a ticket the minute they had been released and the wait for the night felt like a lifetime. Friday the 13th may normally cast certain fear on everyone’s day but mine was filled with anticipation and excitement. The wait was worth it as I finally got to see one of my favourite bands play.
My friends and I arrived at the venue early to make sure that we got a good spot in the crowd. On arrival I was shocked to see that the people who had already arrived were quite dispersed within the academy. However, this worked in our favour because it meant that we were able to grab a couple of drinks and get to the barrier straight away. The support act were quick to stroll on stage. The gang of 5 seemed to be a mixture of characters. The lead singer sang with an attitude similar to that of Liam Gallagher while the main guitarist was unbelievably enthusiastic, jumping up and down, side to side, singing along to every song. As a result, the band’s dynamic was not as strong as their songs were catchy, but on account of the latter they managed to get the audience to come together. With minimal crowd interaction, the band continued to play in preparation for the Mondays to take to the stage.
There was a 15 minute break between the support and Happy Mondays. In that 15 minutes, the spaces around us began to fill and we were soon pushed right up to the barrier whilst everyone tried to get as close to the stage as they possibly could. As the band came on stage, the crowd cheered and screamed. They all walked on waving. Rowetta was first to arrive on stage, waving batons with tassels on the end. Bez emerged soon after and waltzed to the front with a massive grin on his face, shaking his maracas in the air. The audience were going wild and as Shaun Ryder walked out onto centre stage, the atmosphere became something that I would deem as indescribable.
Due to the fact that the tour was in homage to the 25th Anniversary of Pills ‘N Thrills and Bellyaches, the band played all of the songs from the album – starting with Kinky Afro, following with massive hits such as God’s Cop, Loose Fit and Step On. The band finished with Harmony which left everyone wanting more. After vacating the stage briefly, the band came back on and finished with an amazing encore including my favourite song- Hallelujah. The audience went crazy for every track and each person seemed to be singing and dancing along. Bez was a huge character in the performance, serving as a ‘dancer’ and percussionist to the band, keeping the crowd energetic throughout. He also pulled a young boy up on stage and managed to get one of the maracas, which had been previously hurled into the crowd, back to give to him.
Happy Mondays were incredible and I enjoyed every minute. I was lucky enough to grab the second part of the set list and this will be something I know I’ll keep hold of to remind me of what an amazing night I had. Long live Happy Mondays and I hope they come back to Liverpool very soon.
Words: Liv Mannix