Ocean Colour Scene, Jimmy Cliff, and The StranglersEdit this event
Blimey O’Reilly, guv, and no mistalk, Noughteners n Mancs in a crikkit grumble for bands n stuff. Woi woi? Sprightly thought innit? You’ll be astonishifticated to realise the working of this is good an totally under the thrall of How To Do Things, cos hip hip when yours truly spamgrunts his way into Old Trafford it am a swirling maelstrom of crap burgers and grinning music boingers. Diggin it. Diggin it.
Cause them nice-cheeked an stupendous sprawl-funx Ozomatli’s groovin on the off beat an movin them LA stylings of Afromashin’, cymbal-splashin, tiptaplatin hyperflashin hips in a way that h’ain’t bin seen round no parts of mine for a longster, boy. Smiling we are, smiling and dancing, cause we’ve flubbered our cranky way into the midst of 2000 shooter-eyed musical scamps, an Ozomalti have come down from the mong-high stage an dived directly into the crowd jus’ to see us, with their trombones an their snares and their wayyyyooayy an the party has GODDAMN STARTED for sure. Yip! Yip!
On the tea we are, on the hot sweet tea the same colour as the Trafford sky. No beer yet. No need. Too excited. Too much tension. Too much bemusement at the surroundings. So, tea only. And so. Sweep forward The Stranglers. The Stranglers. Bully boy dafthead swivel-dicked dimbos that they are. And too old to get those shirts off. TOO OLD! Cor granddad put em away will ya? Mind, that fuckin Golden Brown is a moment of fabulousness. And these days even surly, spiky, speedy JJ wobbles about playin them too-much-treble-basslines and SMILES. Nasty fun as ever tho. As ever. Stranglers. Loving it. Jet Black’s got all the drum patterns written down on random pieces of paper, lovingly highlighted where the fills change and the like. And he looks like a Jabba The Hut pre-morning shave. Rargh! Watch out Leia, he’s GOT A CHAIN ROUND YOUR NECK. Heheheh, an stuff
Old / New / not Hugh goshawk-singer Paul Roberts suppresses a shiver when he Zorros off his billowin’ shirt. But y’know. Hard lad hard rock pub rock fuck rockers ain’t allowed to be cold, even given the gooning threat of the rain-heavy skies above, so there’s no way he’s putting it back on, even if he’s poking the front two rows in the face with his erect nipples. No ‘No More Heroes’, the bastards, but then I guess that’s essentially an irony in itself. And the new material from off of ‘Norfolk Coast’ is possibly the best since they went all Pulp in 1983 or thereabouts, so we’s happy when they fuck off cos they’ve had fun. We’ve had fun. We’ve tarted along to totally-inappropriate Peaches. Politically. Weather-contexted. Cause it’s Manchester in July. What d’ya want? Sun? SUN? Sun’s for SOUTHERNERS, mate.
Crowd swells. Chests swell.
Because next up.
It’s. ** Jimmy.
Or to give him his full and accurate monikation: Jimmy FUCKING Cliff.
Jimmy FUCKING YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT MANY RIVERS VIETNAM FUCKING Cliff. Who dances like a frog and is somewhere time does not touch, whose love and tenderness and sheer hope and wonderful voice and magnificent emotional delivery is full of the honesty and sheer class of the truly chosen. Whose spirituality and magnetism and unconstrained humanity transcends these chords and beats and dance moves and helps us all understand… something. Something important about life, and love, and sharing, and war, and ourselves. Something ineffably beautiful and something instinctively, deeply affecting. Last in the set is Congoman Come. Which morphs into Rivers Of Babylon. Which stills the hearts and the souls of the sodden crowd. Which sends waves of… of something… a spell, or at least a shared moment. Encapsulating for once the joy, the despair, the wonder of music and protoplasm and the essence of whatever you perceive as your personal god. Needless to say the set and the man are and were and always will be special. Whether it’s anyone’s place to comment or not. I suspect it is. We give thanks, mate. Thanks to Jimmy. Fucking. Cliff.
He’s not god. And he knows it. Which is why he is. If that makes any sense. Inspiration can come from just being… just… BEING. For a change.
Course, any act forced to follow such a pivotal moment as that is gonna struggle. Specially when they’re mediocre plodding never-were nicey nicey pass-me-the-celeriac spods like Ocean Colour Scene. They say they’re honoured to be sharing a stage with JC. Or, more accurately, the one he’s just vacated. We feel sorry for them really, they’re not trying to be bland, entirely pointless tissue-paper schmindie bollock-heads, it’s just that they’ve been dealt a slightly raw hand by having to bridge the gap between Cliffo and Madness. Of whom more later.
OCS. Why? Never possibly the most inventive of bands. Never anywhere near the pseudo-kinksy slightly modish, slightly Mod-ish cultural, personal, spangly commentators they wanted to be. Nowadays they’re ten years older and miss on even more levels than they did in the first place. Still, a thousand of their fans are here, and they sing along to some of the words, so ‘taint for me to say nowt more I rekkin. And that Riverboat Song is still a bonus, even if it does remind us of ginger twats. So. More tea for us. Sure the OCS lads are supping on a mug or two themselves backstage when they finally toss off, having failed to dent or taint Jimmy’s vapour that remains over the embiggening crowd still. It’s probably still there as you read this, smiling benignly.
And laughing and skanking, most likely, at the mighty Madness. Can they play any set that isn’t a greatest hits set? I doubt it. Uh-oh. What’s this? *Suggs *has spotted a lone dude sitting in a deserted stand with only two stewards for company. You can guess the rest. The word, I’m afraid, is ‘ribbing’. Poor bugger. Several thousand people turn their backs to the stage to wave at him as he sits, shivering and no doubt pissed up to hell. But the thing is, Suggs and the rest of the boys would probably take him out for a drink and have a right laugh WITH HIM. Madness. Brilliant. Top geezers. Top tunes. Name some? Oh alright. Baggy trousers. The one about the Lamppost in Deepest
Tottenhammmm. (tis called lovestruck). Embarassment. (wooa wooa) On the Wings Of A Dove. It Must be Love. One. Step. BEYOOONNNNNNDDD. Loads of the buggers. Nutty boys rule the owl world for this hour an a bit. So. The party is back on. The crowd’s diving into a sea of silliness. So it turns out that this music thing’s actually quite good, after all.
Blimey O’Reilley. And, this being Thursday an all, the party’s only just started, an mo mussin’; top stuff. Daft place to have a gig, slightly skewiff lineup, mongy weather, mingin burgers, craw-tickling tea. But top stuff.
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