LIVE: Happy Mondays – Manchester Academy


Madchester king-pins Happy Mondays return home with a triumphant ‘Greatest Hits’ show, re-enforcing their position as legends of the Manchester scene in the process.

Kicking off the set was an explosive rendition of 1989 hit ‘Kinky Afro’ which sent the Manchester crowd into a frenzy. A sea of freaky-dancing bucket hats colliding with the Mondays’ club-esque light show.

This was shortly followed by the one-two punch of; ‘God’s Cop’ and ‘Loose Fit’. Shaun Ryder’s trademark swagger was duly accompanied by Bez and his maracas as-well as the soulful tones of Rowetta, which served to lift the performance. It seems neither has lost a step over the almost four decades of the band.

As the show reached its midway portion the band showcased tracks such as; ‘Clap Your Hands’, ‘Tart Tart’ and ‘Mad Cyril’. Receiving somewhat of a lukewarm reaction from the crowd, the show entered something of a lull. This was only further exacerbated by the disappearance of Bez for certain portions of the set; the lack of freaky-dancing taking away somewhat from the party atmosphere of the show.

However, the show certainly livened up in its closing portion. Saving the biggest hits for last, playing hits back-to-back the crowd came unglued for; ’24 Hour Party People’, ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Step On’. Middle age men surfed on the shoulders of teenagers in the laser light fuelled mosh pits.  The band seemingly gave their all in this portion of the show, especially when Shaun Ryder was joined on stage by his daughters, a seeming acknowledgement of the bands age and move away from their hedonistic past.

The set closed with a rendition of, ‘Wrote for Luck’, a fitting end to the night. With this the Happy Mondays exited the stage, leaving the adulating audience begging for more.

The Happy Mondays greatest hits show certainly lived up to the name. Holding the crowd in the palm of their hand from start to finish, and although some sections of the show seemed to fall into something of a rut, they soon recovered with hit after hit. Although they may no longer be 24 Hour Party People, 2 Hour Party People will seem to suffice.