Inspiral Carpets / Coin Op - Manchester Academy 1 - 3.4.03

This four piece from London look luke your typical show gazing indie band who have hung around the Camden gutters a little too long, but on this occasion appearance can be deceptive. Coin-Op sound so American that you'd actually believe that they came from the good old US of A. With a sound best described as lo-fi rock with occasional synthesizers they go from turbo charged instrumentals to Stooges style rock outs. There's a hint of Mark E Smith's vocal tics in there as well. A promising new band which have potential, but need to define their own identity to become really special.

In a year when both The Mock Turtles and The Inspiral Carpets reformed you could be suspicious of a Madchester revival, but to be fair the Inspirals were devoid of the laddish hedonistic lifestyle of the Mondays and The Roses. More inspired by the psychedelia of the 60s and the peace and love ideal. That's not to say the band were boring and dull, far from it. They revelled in the anti-establishment distribution of their "Cool As F**k" T-Shirts and possessed a wicked sense of humour, but more importantly the Inspiral Carpets made instantly melodic pop rock, had many chart successes and released an eclectic collection of vastly underrated albums. Towards the end of 1995 without notice the band just seemed to drift away. Since then Tom Hingley and Clint Boon formed their own bands with Clint becoming a successful DJ, but with a CD retrospective and DVD due out in May the band are back with vengeance. This gig tonight was added due to phenomenal public demand as their Saturday date has already sold out. As the lights dim and the band appear I ponder to myself if they can recapture their old magic of yore. When the first few bars of "Joe" are played my question is immediately answered...of course they can. It's as if the Inspirals have never been away.

Tom's voice is as magnificently powerful as ever and his stage presence still impresses. Clint remains the coolest man ever to play the organ. As this is the greatest hits tour the fans get exactly what they want. The biggest cheers are reserved for the unforgettable "This Is How It Feels" and "Caravan". Even without Mark E Smith, "I Want You" is still a belter and hasn't dated one iota. "Dragging Me Down" is one of my personal favourites and sounds even better with the electric atmosphere has tonight. For their first encore the Inspiral Carpets cover Doves' "Pounding" with the drummer wearing a Saddam Hussein mask. Clint calls Doves the new Inspirals and who are we to argue. For the final song the band are all wearing white outfits for the space age anthem "Saturn 5" which has the crowd going crazy. An unlikely and surprising re-union, but a very welcome one from a band who are still relevant. Inspiral Carpets, we salute you, it's good to have you back.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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