Black Grape reunited last night (Saturday April 11) for a gig in support of Bez’s All Star Reality Party election campaign – with frontman Shaun Ryder urging the audience to vote for “anyone but” the Tories.
The sold-out 700-capacity homecoming show took place at the Old Granada Studios in Manchester and saw the group perform eleven songs, including ‘Reverend Black Grape’, ‘Tell Me Something’ and ‘Get Higher’. Bez is now standing for election in Salford & Eccles, primarily on an anti-fracking ticket, with bookies giving him odds of 25/1 to win. The night also raised money for homeless charity Coffee4Craig.
At 11.05pm, Black Grape – formed by in 1993 by Happy Mondays’ Ryder and Bez alongside Kermit of Ruthless Rap Assassins – took to the stage to a hero’s welcome and launched into the boisterous psychedelia of ‘In The Name Of The Father’, their second single. Dressed in a leather jacket and sunglasses, Ryder commented: “20 years since we made this amazing album and got together with Black Grape and found this amazing band”.
“So let’s look at the setlist,” he continued, introducing the second song, ‘Tramazi Parti’. “It’s a fucking Temazi party. That’s a fucking ’80s thing – Temazis,” he said in reference to the craze for abusing Temazepam sleeping pills, before Kermit – wearing a ‘Super Weird Substance’ T-shirt – commanded the crowd to “Party like there’s no tomorrow!”. ‘Yeah Yeah Brother’, meanwhile, was dedicated to Alan McGee of Creation, who is now managing the reformed group.
Despite being an original member, Bez did not join Black Grape onstage until the encore. Wearing a pin-striped jacket, he said: “I want to thank Black Grape for reforming the band tonight. It’s important Manchester stands together.”
Ryder then stressed: “If you don’t vote for Bez, don’t vote for the Tories for fuck’s sake. Anyone but them.”
As the band performed ‘Kelly’s Heroes’, Bez shed his tie and jacket, and reclaimed his former role as ‘vibes-man’ for one song, unleashing his famous freaky dancing and shoulder-pressing the microphone stand. They closed a 75-minute set with ‘Little Bob’, which saw the stage flooded with a carnival-like array of dancers, in glittery costumes, wigs, circus hoops and Reality Party-branded umbrellas.
Black Grape played:
‘In The Name Of The Father’
‘Reverend Black Grape’
‘Yeah Yeah Brother’
‘Tell Me Something’
‘A Big Day in The North’
‘Shake Well Before Opening’