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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.

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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 :


Real Thing

Song For A Family

This Is How It Feels

Directing Traffic

Besides Me

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


So Far

I Want You

Dragging Me Down

Saturn 5

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

Inspiral Carpets official website is here.   They are also on Twitter and Facebook, where the album is currently being streamed.

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.

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Having cut his teeth writing for Louder Than War, Dave set up his own blog Even The Stars and continues to make occasional contributions to Louder Than War. He also run Tim Booth from James' official website as well as the James fansite One Of The Three.


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