London W1 Notre Dame Hall


It may seem that the [B]Mondays[/B] - by hiring a support band that make [a]Belle & Sebastian[/a] look like [B]Combat 18[/B] - are, how you say, 'twisting our melons'...

The gangstas are shitting themselves. They hide in the bar, mobile phones switched off, dodgy drug deals suspended until nearer the Happy Mondays’ stage time. They neck their Mitsubishis, too freaked out to go in there… into the big empty hall where there’s this boggle-eyed ponce onstage shouting “SUGAR-BUM! SUGAR-BUM!” while prancing about like a naughty goblin sneaking into a Pastels rehearsal. That [a]Ooberman[/a], pal, they might be from Liverpool but your car keys are safe, y’naarrwarraamean?

It may seem that the Mondays – by hiring a support band that make [a]Belle & Sebastian[/a] look like Combat 18 – are, how you say, ‘twisting our melons’. But somewhere amid [a]Ooberman[/a]’s archaic, wispish, village-idiot pop vision there is a connection. If Happy Mondays had formed in a public school flower-arranging class they might have written tunes like ‘Blossom’s Falling’ and ‘Tears From The Willow’: baggy hippy numbers with one foot on the sweaty indie dancefloors of 1990 and the other in some stocks, being pelted with ‘medicinal’ mushrooms.

As with all of the best bands of the past year, predictability leaves the building with the first deranged giggle. One minute [a]Ooberman[/a] are a prog Cardigans, hissing and swooning through ‘Shorley Wall’ like Marianne Faithfull gone Scouse. The next, singer Danny Popplewell is bouncing on the spot screaming, [I]”MY HEAD IS LIKE AN ANGRY SWARM OF BEES!”[/I] on ‘Bees’, the first ever example of Punk Fop.

As ‘Stormtrooper’ climaxes in a blaze of Numanoid beats and thunder crashes the cynics slope off muttering, “World Of Twist“, “lo-fi Lightning Seeds” and, “Christ, me gammy leg from the Early Genesis Wars is playing up again”. They’re right, but they’re ignoring a depth of inventiveness that makes The Beta Band look like the blokes in those big U2 heads on TFI Friday. You want clapped-out baggy revivalism? Stick around, Bez‘s maracas will be on in a minute. But if you want a refreshingly skewered slant on those kinky Afro’d beats, you’re gonna have to cawl da fops…