Happy Mondays roll back the years at Cambridge Corn Exchange
Troublesome crowd members couldn't spoil a hit-packed set from the reformed and rejuvenated Shaun, Bez and co.
One of Manchester’s finest bands came to Cambridge on Saturday, November 25 as part of a multi-date tour to celebrate 30 years since the release of their classic hit 24 Hour Party People.
After an overlong set from support act Jon DaSilva, a former DJ at the famed Hacienda nightclub in Manchester, powerhouse vocalist Rowetta came out first with four of the Mondays, followed thereafter by dynamic duo, singer Shaun Ryder and ‘freaky dancer’ Bez.
They kicked off with Loose Fit, Bez’s mesmerising dance moves and wild stare making it hard to focus on anything else.
“Did you like that one, Bez?” asked Ryder afterwards. Much of the between-song chatter was of a similar ilk, with Ryder regularly looking down at the setlist taped to the floor and asking what was next, while swigging from a bottle of Oasis.
“Can you feel the love?” he asked as he hugged his mate Bez. There was some confusion as to when the latter joined the band, with Ryder believing it to have been 1983, while Bez thought it was ‘85.
Everything any Mondays fan – and even casual admirers – could possibly want to hear was included: Kinky Afro, Hallelujah, Rave On, 24 Hour Party People, Step On and Wrote for Luck, and visually the septet have a great dynamic.
Singers Shaun Ryder and Rowetta stand either side in the middle with Bez out in front doing his thing, while at the side, guitarist Mark Day on the right and bass player – and Shaun’s brother – Paul Ryder on the left seem content to stay out of the limelight.
“We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have,” said Ryder after Step On, which came at the end of the main set. I think it’s safe to say most people did, but there were some inconsiderate types down the front doing their best to ruin it for others.
One young man in particular kept ruffling people’s hair, trying to remove their glasses and putting his arms around them aggressively in his attempts to bully his way right to the front.
Security told him to calm down on a number of occasions but he didn’t and should have been forcibly removed, as another unruly person was.
Still, despite their efforts, he and one or two others didn’t dampen the performance of a band on top form.