Inspiral Carpets at Pretty Green by Elspeth-017-S

Inspiral Carpets
Manchester Pretty Green Shop
11 March 2013
live review

photo : Elspeth Moore

As a pre-cursor to the bands forthcoming “Life Tour” (where the band play their first album in full) they are playing a warm up show in Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green shop. If you’ve never been in, its full of hip & expensive mod clothes, vinyl & accessories, & several rather larger than life images of Liam himself. I get there slightly before the opening time of 8pm, when, on a first come first served basis the rest of the audience is admitted. Chris Jackson, who was first in the queue has been there since 6pm in sub-zero temperatures & was wondering where the free clothes were !?!

The crowd are a mixture of youngsters and very long time fans, one of whom I’ve not seen at a gig since 1989. The band are set up in a large corner of the shop & it looks great to see a load of band equipment set up on a bright white floor, very 60’s, like an old TV show of the era. The bands logo morphs around the ceiling passing very close to the Pretty Green logo which it bears a very close similarity to, both sourced from similar band logos of the 60’s like The Seeds.

Just before the crowd is let in they run through “Joe”, their homage to a Manchester tramp, it sounds great, the band then retire to their dressing room & the crowd queuing outside are let in. They quickly fill the shop & no-one can barely move at the front of the stage (well there isn’t one there, it’s just a floor).

It seems everyone outside has got in. Ten minutes later the band strikes up into “Joe” again, the audience love it. Clint is quite chatty, joking that Graham got his shirt from Primark. They play single after single, indeed every song tonight is either an A side or a B side. There are 17 songs on the set list, which is very quickly abandoned as the Inspirals play whatever takes their fancy.

“She Comes In The Fall”, is up next, closely followed by their breakthrough single “This Is How It Feels”. The crowd lap it up, but are quite subdued in the dancing stakes, until last year’s “You’re So Good For Me” is played, then they start swaying, maybe it’s because of the surroundings of being in a shop. “I Want You” finally gets someone pogoing (on his own), and it also lets me see exactly how Clint Boon triggers the odd sample (in this case a digitised Mark E Smith, somewhat easier to handle than the real thing) from his laptop, I won’t give the game away, suffice to say it’s a little lo-fi, quite fitting with The Inspirals 60s garage band feel. We also get to hear their new single “Fix Your Smile”, which is all swirling organ chords, & is available for record store day on Tim Burgess’s O Genesis imprint.

It’s a great way to warm up for a tour, getting back to your roots playing in front of an, in your face crowd through amps and a vocal PA. I don’t think I’ve seen them this way since 1988 in some toilet bar in Manchester somewhere.

The “Life Tour” starts this week, Manchester Ritz is already sold out, but tickets are available for other dates, try and get down to see ’em

She comes in the fall
This is how it feels
Butterfly (on a breeze)
Directing traffic
Fix your smile
Two worlds collide
So far
You’re so good for me
I want you
Dragging me down
Saturn 5

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esteemed collector of aural artifacts of Manchester musicians and barometer of musical greatness since ancient times...knows a man who knows Mark Smith


  1. Great band, gutted that I can’t make any of the current dates (busy month – Stranglers, SLF, & Wilko).


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