Half Man Half Biscuit - The Mill Preston - 8.12.05

We all know that Half Man Half Biscuit don’t fit into the Dad Rock Category but tonight’s filled to capacity venue is full of dads. With their partners in tow or baby sitting, these portly men may be dads, but tonight they’ve only got one thing on their minds tonight and that’s their student hedonistic days. Only England could produce a band like HMHB who for nigh on two decades have subjected minor TV celebrities like Ted Malt and snooker referee Len Ganley to satirical scrutiny with their self evident disgust to middle class pretentious lifestyle choices still evident in their lyrical couplets and musical stylings.

Ever since John Peel picked up on their “Trumpton Riots” single in the mid eighties cult status has been sealed. The four musicians on stage may look ordinary and unassuming, but once they hit their stride a lively performance is ensued. It’s their down to earth ordinariness which makes them so appealing and so refreshing in an industry where image is everything.

With so many albums over their career they can pick and choose from Lead singer Nigel Blackwell has a wise head on his shoulders and doesn’t ignore desperate please from the crowd for old favourites. Everyday tales of days spent in Ladbrokes are wittily performed with a three chord simplicity with the fans not averse to singing along especially during their catchiest song
which in keeping with HMHB is about of one of Benny Hill’s side kicks on the lamentable track “99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd” which comes after the seriously titled “Corky’s Registered Friends”

This isn’t just a nostalgia fest, there’s plenty of new material which raises a wry smile as well as expertly crafted tunes like “Joy Division Oven Gloves”. The fans jump around live over excited teenagers during “F**king Hell It’s Fred Titmus” and a surprise cover of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” takes on a whole new meaning with this indie rock interpretation of the bubblegum pop chart topper.

Finishing with their own inimitable take on the festive season, Half Man Half Biscuit made a lot of people very happy tonight.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

Click here to leave your HMHB comments on the Message Board
(NB: The message board opens in a new window so please disable your pop-up blocker to view)