Shaun William Ryder - Manchester Academy - 25.3.11

The audience, a mixed bag ranging from students to the forty-somethings who followed the Madchester scene in the early 90’s, gather for the return of Shaun William Ryder as The Twang take us through their set. A talented band with two front men, the outcome is an amazing a support band who give a spectacular performance. One to watch out for in the future.

Ryder swoons onto the stage a cool five minutes late looking comfortable in a grey hoodie, jeans and trainers. He looks well considering his history and recent health problems, but still reminiscent of the young Happy Monday who first took to the stage back in the 80’s.

The first chords of Kinky Afro play over and over as he goes into a typical Ryder rant about how tiny the dressing room is quoting ‘There’s no room to do fuck all’ and apologises to his friends and family that ‘there’s not much room back stage for them’. Then he announces ‘Now we’ll start again’ before joining in with the first song.

Before launching into a new song Electric Scales a fan throws a drink on stage ‘You’re not at Salford University now’ he rants again ‘Now I don’t want to be fucked up with drink do I?’ I almost suspect he might do a ‘Morrissey’ and desert the stage, but he continues and the crowd behaves. Well he is King of the Jungle after-all and his word is law.

He took us back to the ‘90’s with Loose Fit and announces ‘If anyone sees Buzzer’s kid could they get hold of him and send him backstage’. He has a certain charm, he’s passionate about his songs, both old and new, and he knows how to deliver to his loyal ‘Home-town’ fans. He is obviously happy to be playing in Manchester by the amount of times he shouts it’s name to the audience.

DARE brings the biggest cheer and Ryder whips the audience up into a frenzy, singing ‘Right Manchester it’s coming up, it’s coming up’ as the crowd comes alive, whilst he himself remains pretty calm.

He’s not the most energetic artist to ever grace the stage. Apart from the rainbow of stage lights there’s not much to see and it seems he’s glued to a certain spot near the middle for almost the entire performance. He neither moves backwards or forwards towards his fans, the most he paces is just over a couple of strides to read the set list taped to the floor, before returning to his original position. From the same spot he orchestrates his band members. Like a king he knows how to rule - and he rules this stage.

He makes an announcement ‘This is our Tone’s favourite this one’, ‘We’ll play it for our Tony wherever you are...’. ‘What the fuck?’ as he has misread the set list as he thought they were going to sing Hallelujah next.

He’s very verbal between songs, far more than most, which makes up for lack of movement, although he mutters and we can’t hear everything he has to say, but we can guess what every other word is.

He thanks the audience and leaves the stage. They arrive back for the encore with a birthday cake decorated with firework sized sparklers. The first chords of the anthemic Step On ignite the audience once more. Part of the chorus is cleverly punctuated by ‘Happy Birthday to you’

As the song comes to and end and the instruments quieten he leaves the stage muttering ‘Where’s the fucking cake?’

Shaun William Ryder; King of the Jungle; The Happy Monday; The 24 hour Party Person; Uncouth; call him whatever you want, but the crowd loved him and I can’t wait for his next performance.

Amanda J Window


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All Interviews by Alex McCann unless otherwise stated
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