THE JOY OF SIX

And Cerys manages to plough through an entire bottle of wine during the set...

CATATONIA debuted six brand new songs at a special low-key gig last night (April 26).

The show, in front of just 900 fans at Northampton

Roadmenders, was the first time that Cerys Matthews and the boys had appeared on

a stage together since the 1999 NetAid benefit in London’s Wembley Stadium.

Cerys, dressed in black trousers, strappy white stilettos and a green Admiral T-shirt, demolished an entire bottle of white wine during the set – and remained wedged on a stool for the first seven songs.

The new tunes included a Hole-like homage to social climbing called ‘Immediate Circle’, a song called ‘Drugs And Misogyny’ – which included the immortal line: “I can say honestly/You’re a masculine travesty”. The other new compositions given an airing were ‘Same Sad Old Blues Song’, ‘Village Idiots’ and ‘Fuel’.

The band tried to begin playing next single ‘Stone By Stone’ as well – but scrapped it when guitarist Mark Roberts missed his queue from the sampled intro.

Cerys apologised: “We’ve got a brand new Number One song to play you. Number One in our minds, anyway. But we can’t play it. We forgot to bring the orchestra and the kazoo player’s being sick in the toilet.”

Cerys was on typically fine form throughout the evening. When a ‘Cerys Barbie’ doll – complete with sequin dress, strappy heels and a bottle of wine glued to one hand – was lobbed onto the stage, landing at her feet, she said: “I thought it was a bottle – I was going to throw it back. That’s me, is it? Can’t be, it’s too thin. I’m a proper lady.”

And she put down her stool-hogging behaviour as “I can’t be arsed to dance anymore. Fuck it. Just call me Val Doonican.”

The Catatonia’s set began with ‘I Am The Mob’ and included the hits ‘Road Rage’, ‘You’ve Got A Lot To Answer For’, ‘Mulder And Scully’, ‘Game On’ and ‘Strange Glue’, as

well as, ‘Johnny Come Lately’, and ‘Do You Believe In Me’.

The show ended with Cerys asking the audience: “Can we come again and play proper?”

The gig was set up at short notice as a warm-up for the band’s appearance at the Unison concert in Manchester this weekend – an awareness-raiser for the Campaign for a Living Wage, where Catatonia will share the stage with Wheatus and Toploader, amongst others.