Inspiral Carpets / Danny Mahon
Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
Friday March 15th 2013
Inspiral Carpets are back on the road celebrating the re-release of their debut album Life by playing an eleven-date UK tour performing the album in full and a set of classic tracks and new songs to follow. David Brown caught up with them at the first night of a sold out two day run at Glasgow’s legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut.
Photos from their Newcastle show earlier in the week are by Elspeth Moore.
Opening for the Inspirals on this tour is underground Manc legend Danny Mahon, a man with a parka, a guitar and a mission to win your hearts with his tales of love, family, violence, and social comment. He’s a perfect opener in that sense and he taps into the predominantly male testosterone in the audience and makes a connection with singalong beer-fuelled rants at music journalists (Punch Your Face In), street violence (Beat Me Up) and love for his other half and child (Odd Socks and Eric The King).
Life will always be the album that is most associated with the Inspirals and it was their commercial high-point. It was recorded within six months of now-restored singer Stephen Holt leaving and being replaced by Tom Hingley. Touring it with Holt back in the band gives an insight in what might have been. The majority of the songs remain true to the band’s garage roots and Holt’s voice, whilst not necessarily having the range of his successor, is perfect for these songs. And perfect for this band.
The sound in the venue is fairly appalling and Clint has keyboard issues all night, but none of this seems to bother the Glasgow crowd who form a heaving moshpit and sing along with every word as if it’s their lives depended on it. And for an hour and a half it feels like they do, it’s balls-out full on organ-driven garage music, true to the band’s very earliest roots and making a noise that men in their forties shouldn’t be allowed to in the rules of what’s cool in the music business. But the album has aged as well as the band, and they’re still throwing in their often random lighting and background slide show put together by AKG media.
They do play some of their later hits but they’re carefully selected to go with the Life set. It’s great to hear So Far resurrected for this tour. We also get last year’s great comeback single You’re So Good For Me, which is followed by next month’s new single Fix Your Smile, with its chorus of “things never looked so good” summing up where the Inspirals seem to be as a band, at least on a personal level.
You’re not going to get anything radical, different or groundbreaking with Inspiral Carpets, you know that, they know that. But sometimes that’s not what you need or what you want. Music is as much about having a good time dancing to it as it is sitting at home poring over chord progression and key changes. Let whatever hair you’ve got left down, crack open a can of Red Stripe and dance and sing along. Live Life, Love Life.
They played :
Song For A Family
This Is How It Feels
Many Happy Returns
Memories Of You
She Comes In The Fall
Monkey On My Back
Sun Don’t Shine
Inside My Head
Two Worlds Collide
You’re So Good For Me
Fix Your Smile
I Want You
Dragging Me Down
The Life reissue, combined with their first two EPs Planecrash and Trainsurfing and a previously unreleased 1988 John Peel Session and a DVD of their sold out July 1990 G-Mex show is released on Monday (March 18th)
Inspiral Carpets play the following dates on the Life tour in March:
Saturday 16th Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
Thursday 21st Birmingham O2 Academy 2
Friday 22nd London Covent Garden Pretty Green in-store (1pm)
Friday 22nd London Koko
Saturday 23rd Sheffield Leadmill
Sunday 24th Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Thursday 28th Wrexham Central Station
Friday 29th Manchester Ritz
Saturday 30th Holmfirth Picturedrome
All words by David Brown. You can see more of David’s work on Louder Than War here
All images by Elspeth Moore. More work from Elspeth on Louder Than War can be found here.